Tight knit group makes stand against violence
A local Mangawhai tree ‘knit bombed’ in orange yarn has become a bright beacon for a global social initiative.
The vibrantly decorated tree outside Mangawhai’s Art Gallery is a symbol of protest against violence towards women by the local chapter of international advocacy and service organisation, Zonta.
Also radiantly dressed in orange, members of the women’s group held a stall at the Saturday morning market day on November 26, handing out information about Zonta’s ‘Saying No to Violence Against Women’ campaign.
Founder of Zonta Mangawhai, Liz Holstead, says events publicising the protest were taking place all over the world with New Zealand groups arranging a variety of activities.
“There are marches planned and meetings with high court judges to discuss family violence,” she says. “One group is displaying 200 orange shoes with each pair representing those affected by family violence over a 48 hour period.”
New Zealand’s statistics for family violence are still the worst in the developed world. One in three women and one in six men experience abuse from an intimate partner, 14 percent of young people report some form of intended physical harm from a family member, and eight children are killed every year by a parent or caregiver.
President of Zonta Mangawhai, Jan Fisher says although focused primarily towards highlighting the plight of women in abusive relationships, the Zonta initiative includes anyone who is caught up in violence.
“With police receiving a call in relation to family violence every five and half minutes and elder abuse on the rise, it is really about anti-violence and is complimentary to the White Ribbon Day initiatives,” she says.
Zonta members were busy knitting for over two months in preparation for the ‘knit bomb’.
“No one else knew what anyone else was doing,” Holstead says. “But it worked… one of the hardest things was actually finding orange wool!”
Fisher, who runs a colour consultant business says although orange is not popular in clothing it makes sense it was chosen for this particular campaign.
“Orange is a colour associated with warmth and healing, for example we’re attracted to a warm fire,” she says. “When people are drawn towards orange, it seems they usually are going through some kind of trauma.”
By Julia Wade