A Violence-Free Aotearoa


Nicola Woodward TEDxChristchurch

Aviva passionately believes that the people of Aotearoa New Zealand can live free from violence and that we can achieve this together. We can all play a part. We are all part of the solution.

So where do we start? What would a violence free Aotearoa look like, and how could we use our collective power to create a fairer, safer, more loving society for our tamariki and whānau?

Aroha lies at the heart of Aviva’s approach.  Often translated as “love”, the full meaning of aroha cannot be expressed in just one word. In Te Reo Maori, aroha encompasses mind, emotion and breath of life. Aroha sees the best in people. Aroha means compassion, tenderness, kindness.

With aroha at the heart of our approach, Aviva believes in the following four simple but powerful actions that we can all take to collectively create a violence-free Aotearoa.

Listen with an open mind, act with an open heart.

  • Violence hurts people in many visible and invisible ways across ages, genders, abilities, cultures, faiths and ethnicities.
  • Our personal assumptions and beliefs about family and sexual violence help to create a false sense of security for most of us. In reality, violence is commonly close to home, close to our friendship groups, close to our work.
  • Violence is intergenerational. The impact of historical violence and child abuse on people’s use of violence as adults must be compassionately recognised on a journey towards personal growth, safety and responsibility
  • The sooner we connect, the sooner it stops. It doesn’t have to get worse. Aviva provides services for all members of the family, at every stage of their journey towards safety and wellbeing.

Believe in human potential

  • Our language is part of the solution. We don't use words like 'victim' and 'perpetrator' - we see people's potential to live free from violence. Words that shame and stigmatise stop people from reaching out for help. Words of hope and human potential enable connection, trust and respect.
  • We believe in everyone's potential to make a difference and contribute towards a violence-free Aotearoa.

Campaign for social justice 

  • The journey towards a New Zealand, Aotearoa free from violence is a journey towards equality. This means achieving gender equality and overcoming the enduring social, cultural and economic effects of colonisation still experienced by Maori today.
  • Accessing services should be as easy as possible, not a test of motivation and endurance. This is why Aviva is based at The Loft.  Through The Loft’s one very welcoming front door you can receive support from a broad range of social and community services without having to re-tell your story.
  • New Zealand invests in its future when it invests in effective services.

Tell a new story

  • New Zealand has the highest reported rate of intimate partner violence in the OECD. 24% of women and 6% of men will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime. Media stories of family and sexual violence, including deaths, are commonplace.  So why do most of us continue to behave as if it’s not our problem, as if these statistics are OK? We can all become part of the solution when we recognise that our collective tolerance is part of the problem.
  • We need to stop making gendered assumptions about people; women and girls are not intrinsically  vulnerable to violence, men and boys are not intrinsically violent or aggressive. Harmful assumptions founded on social stereotypes maintain gender inequalities and inter-generational violence.

We’re not saying it’s easy or that change can happen overnight. But we do believe it can happen. Whilst some think it’s impossible, every time a life is saved, every time a cycle is broken, every time one person reaches out in kindness to another, we all take a step closer to a violence free Aotearoa.

Join us