Rugby stars push anti violence message in Vanuatu
Prominent New Zealand rugby players are in Vanuatu this week spreading the message that domestic violence is not okay.
Domestic violence is a major issue in many parts of the Pacific, including in Vanuatu, but seven professional rugby players from New Zealand are in that country this week to spread an anti-violence message through sport.
They had a big welcome on Monday with a parade through Port Vila accompanied by the police band, government ministers and officials and the New Zealand High Commissioner, Georgina Roberts.
Mark Abbott is a lock with the Hurricanes Super 15 squad and told Don Wiseman how the trip to Vanuatu came about.
MARK ABBOTT: I think it was originally there was a meeting of police forces across the Pacific and they highlighted this problem, not just in Vanuatu, across a whole lot of nations across the Pacific, so in previous years they've gone to the Cook Islands, Guam and so forth, so this year it's Vanuatu's turn. So basically in conjunction with the [New Zealand] police and in country police, they've basically brought the rugby players onboard to the regular visitors profile and hopefully they get that message across to men and especially to the youth as well.
DON WISEMAN: What sort of profile do you have though. Rugby is not a big sport in Vanuatu is it?
MA: Not particularly, I guess soccer might be a better way to go about it but at the same time they know who the All Blacks are, and they know quite a lot of people know the Super Rugby franchises. So before we came here they have been putting out media releases that professional rugby players from New Zealand were to speak, so people know who we are before we get here and they are always pretty keen to see us, that's for sure.
DW: What is it you are saying. How are you spreading this message about ending domestic violence?
MA: From a rugby perspective we kind of go along the lines of that rugby is a physical sport, we do it on a daily basis but outside of rugby we look after our families and that kind of thing. They can see from that side of it but also sometimes they have different set ups, so to speak, so we will speak to schools and kids. We went to the prison yesterday, and each one you deliver a slightly different message, depending on the crowd.
DW: What sort of reception are you getting so far?
MA: A very positive one. As far as I have seen it seems to be getting through to people. You can't really measure that until later on. Hopefully they'll have a decrease in domestic violence crime statistics.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: