White Ribbon riders Colin Agnew (front left) and Blair McKenzie, along with other Nelson riders will finish their 2018 campaign in Victory Square this Sunday. Photo: Kate Russell.

White Ribbon ride to rev up Nelson

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Dozens of motorbikes will roar into Nelson this Sunday, bringing an important message with them.

The White Ribbon Ride is an initiative that tackles the country’s crippling domestic violence record.

The week-long ride started in Kaikoura last weekend and will finish in Nelson on White Ribbon Day Sunday, 25 November with a free family event at Victory Square.

Over the week, riders have been visiting communities, making presentations and sharing the message about New Zealand’s problem with family harm.

White Ribbon rider and ambassador Blair McKenzie is a survivor of family violence and abuse says it’s an opportunity to bring the issue out into the open and get people talking.

“I grew up in a family with a generational curse of abuse. This made me a very disturbed young man and, unfortunately, I carried it into my own life as a married man,” he says.
“Nineteen years ago, I had enough of myself and it was change or die. Thankfully I have changed, breaking the cycle of abuse in my family.”

“New Zealand has the worst statistics in the western world. We’re trying to address that and let people know that it’s not right.”

There are about 20 riders doing the South Island lap, but Blair encourages any locals with a motorbike or scooter to join the convoy as they approach Nelson.

The convoy will be leaving Westport on Sunday morning at 7am and picking up riders at Beechwoods in Murchison at 9am, Faulkner Bush at 10.30am before rolling into Victory Square around 11am.

Blair says they are planning to travel over the Bishopdale hill, past the church steps, down Trafalgar St, through the Wakatu carpark and then down either Vanguard or St Vincent St.

“We will make a lot of noise as we enter Nelson.”

The event at Victory Square will run from 11am – 1pm and include touch rugby games, a BBQ, bouncy castles, music and a presentation.