Students lead in creating bullying-free schools

Issue: Volume 97, Number 13

Posted: 26 July 2018
Reference #: 1H9jis

Students’ voices came out loud and clear in this year’s Bullying-Free NZ multimedia competition, with 10 schools selected as winners and a further 18 schools receiving special merit or highly commended awards.

Bullying Prevention Advisory Group Chairperson and Secretary for Education Iona Holsted has congratulated all of the winners in this year’s Bullying-Free NZ multimedia competition.

Tamahere Model Country School student Max Mayall emphasised courage and kindness to combat bullying, encouraging others to “stand up, speak out, throw kindness around”.

“The many inspiring and imaginative competition entries illustrate the significance of this issue to our young people and our schools. They’re saying bullying behaviour should not be tolerated in any form and that everyone should be treated with respect.”

“This year’s competition was an opportunity to encourage students to talk about how to tackle bullying behaviour with their teachers, parents, and each other,” says Iona.

“Young people across New Zealand have shown great awareness of this serious issue and tackled it in expressive ways.

“As well as those who have won prizes, I commend every student who submitted an entry to the competition,” says Iona.


For the first time, schools could also nominate a ‘Bullying Prevention Superstar’, with two schools showing how students can lead the way in making a real difference.

The importance of kindness was significant amongst younger children. Y3–4 students at Redcliffs School in Christchurch produced a whole collection of “recipes for kindness”.

At Papanui High School, Year 12 students focused on bullying as part of their assessment for health studies, identifying seven actions to target verbal bullying at their school.

Teacher Justine Chinnery says, “It is important to have students as role models and drivers of any bullying prevention campaign in a school as it has a greater impact on its success. I believe the message ‘think before you say those hurtful words’ was better received because it came from peers rather than teachers.”

In North Canterbury, Amuri Area School head students Jess Price and Grace Bell took a lead role in planning and running bullying prevention workshops and activities with each primary class. Jess and Grace think being ‘bully-free’ needs to be advocated all of the time. They plan to run activities each term, not only to raise, but also to maintain, awareness.

Details of the winning entries, special merit awards and those highly commended are on the Bullying-Free NZ website.

For Papanui High School’s seven actions, visit link).


The Ministry of Education supports schools with resources via the Bullying-Free(external link) website and a Bullying-Free NZ School Toolkit, including a pack for parents, a guide for boards of trustees, training modules for staff, and a series of interactive classroom posters.  

St Bernadette’s School Christchurch

Student Siobhan Taylor shared her experiences through a speech.

“When I was being bullied I learnt that talking helps… Knowing that adults were listening to me made me feel safe and secure.

“Another strategy I learnt was to remove myself from the situation and be the bigger person… [And] running helps me get rid of all my anger and frustration… after a run I feel like I’ve accomplished and achieved something.”

Te Kura O Makarika, Ruatoria 


Sharnee Turei-Butler - Year 7

Te Kura o Makarika

Bully free week is a week is when no bullying happens for all week.

This is my bully story.

One time at my old school I bullied a boy at school.

It was lunch time when I bullied him.

Me and my mates crowded him and tried to fight him.

We were calling him names and doing all sorts of mean stuff to him.

Then I got in trouble by the teacher, and I can tell you that it wasn’t fun getting in trouble.

I thought that being cool with my mates was awesome but to be honest it was DUMB and what we were doing was wrong.

When my teacher come to talk to me all by myself and she explained how my actions were wrong.

I could then clearly see that I was a BULLY.

So to make it right I went up to that boy and with a few simple words I said SORRY. It is much better being someone’s friend than following others because you’re scared they might do the same to you.

BULLYS are the minority – FRIENDS are the majority. 

Tarawera High School

Tarawera High School’s Te Hoko Te Riini and Paulie Ewing won the senior performance category with their raw and honest rap ‘Ghosted’.

“This rap shows you what life is like through the eyes of someone who suffers bullying. The boy talks about his everyday life at school and at home, then decides to focus on something good and become something more through his talents,” says Te Hoko.

Quotes from ‘Ghosted’ by Te Hoko Te Riini and Paulie Ewing:

“So tell me one thing why you gotta be that guy…That goes and decides to give me a harder life.”

“…And I was different… I was one of a kind… I came to mind… That I was bullied all the time… I never understood the reason why.”

“Just tryna block out every single problem. Each day a new one can’t stop ‘em. All this pent up rage you know I get lost in. Praying for a hero like Batman and Robin.”

Link to ‘Ghosted’: link) 

Winners of Bullying-Free NZ Week creative competition

2018 first prize winners (across three categories and three age groups):

  • Browns Bay School, Auckland
  • Apanui School, Whakatane
  • Welbourn School, New Plymouth
  • Elim Christian College, Auckland
  • Makarika School, Ruatoria
  • Oaklands School, Christchurch
  • Wentworth College, Auckland
  • Southern Health School, Dunedin
  • Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton
  • Tarawera High School, Kawerau

2018 Superstar winning entries (students nominated by their school for being bullying prevention superstars):

  • Year 12 Health Studies Students, Amuri Area School, Culverden
  • Jess Price and Grace Bell, Papanui High School, Christchurch

For a full list of winners, visit link).


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 10:16 am, 26 July 2018

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