Country turns top to toe in pink in support of bullying prevention
The Mental Health Foundation has been tickled pink by the way people the length and breadth of Aotearoa got into the spirit of Pink Shirt Day 2022.
On Friday 20 May the nation turned a bold and vibrant shade of māwhero as people took part in the campaign against bullying.
From school yards to the factory floor, from Wellington’s Cable Car to Auckland’s ferries – schools, workplaces and communities wore pink shirts with pride.
Among the highlights this year:
- Over $700,000 raised in t-shirt sales and donations
- Over 40,000 official Pink Shirt Day t-shirts sold by Cotton On
- Over 10,000 streams of Irarere Āio waiata by Pere Wihongi ft. Mohi, on Spotify
- 800 attendees and viewers of the Mental Health Foundation’s workplace webinar on bullying prevention
- All 8,500 event packs sold out
- Featured on Breakfast, the AM Show, Seven Sharp, Newshub and more
- Auckland's Sky Tower and Eden Park were lit up pink and Wellington's Cable Car was decked out in rainbows.
New Zealand has been celebrating Pink Shirt Day annually since 2009. It’s a worldwide movement that began in Canada in 2007 when a couple of students bought 50 pink tops for their classmates to wear as a show of solidarity after a Grade 9 boy was harassed for wearing pink.
Pink Shirt Day is one of the Mental Health Foundation’s major campaigns and aims to bring awareness to the devastating effects bullying can have on people’s mental health.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says New Zealand has the third-highest rate of bullying in schools out of 36 OECD countries with 47% of primary students and 28% of secondary-aged students reporting being bullied at school.
But it’s not solely an issue for young people. One in ten workers feels discriminated against or bullied at work, with people from the rainbow communities, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or other sexuality, experiencing even higher rates of bullying.
“Bullying is one area where we rate near the top of the international statistics, for all the wrong reasons,” Shaun Robinson says. “The research is clear that people who are bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts.”
The money raised through this year’s Pink Shirt Day campaign will fund resources and workshops for thousands of schools and workplaces to promote inclusivity, diversity and bullying prevention.
Shaun Robinson says this year’s Pink Shirt Day was the biggest yet, and there would have been few corners of New Zealand where pink wasn’t the colour of choice on the day.
"I hope all those who get involved continue to wear their shirts throughout the rest of the year, after all, this isn’t about being kind just one day of the year, but every single day.”