10 Nov 2011

New Zealand rugby players in Tonga to help combat domestic violence

4:13 pm on 10 November 2011

Eight New Zealand rugby players are spending the week in Tonga, spreading an anti domestic violence message.

The visit is part of the New Zealand government-funded Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme, now in its fifth year.

The programme manager, Cam Ronald, says to change behaviour, young boys and men need positive role models pushing the message that violence is not OK.

"There's no better way, as far as we are concerned, to use role models like rugby players, who have had the chance to demonstrate their commitment and then act as role models to pass the message along as they interact with these young people overseas. Domestic violence is largely a hidden crime, but also they are passing along another message, particularly in Tonga at the moment, to schoolboys that are playing rugby, and these are big schoolboys, they're 18 and 19 year olds, that violence is not appropriate."

Cam Ronald says this is the third year rugby players have been used, and it is hoped that a soccer team can be sent to Kiribati in the future.