Pick Your Best Pink and Stand Up to Bullying

National anti-bullying campaign Pink Shirt Day is fast approaching. Celebrated on Friday, May 21, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) encourages all New Zealanders to wear māwhero/pink and to Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!

Pink Shirt Day is about working together to stop bullying by celebrating diversity and promoting kindness and inclusiveness. It’s about creating a community where all people feel safe, valued and respected, regardless of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, or cultural background.

From today you can purchase the official t-shirt from Cotton On online and from selected stores.

This year’s t-shirt was designed by Cotton On staff member, Quentin Pao, who drew inspiration from the rainbow flag (created in 1978), and from 70s vintage design.

“I wanted to hero the rainbow on the t-shirt, so I wove it into the typography as a stripe font/logo – a staple of 70’s design. It brings the tee back to the roots of Pink Shirt Day and its fight against homophobia,” explained Quentin.

“For me, celebrating Pink Shirt Day is a great way to address toxic masculinity. We need to stop ridiculing men for wearing things deemed unmasculine. Everyone should be able to express themselves without fear of criticism.”

Already close to 9000 people from schools, workplaces and communities have signed up to take part in PSD.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson noted that every year there is growth in support for Pink Shirt Day.

“Bullying is a huge issue in Aotearoa – we have the third-highest rate of school bullying out of 36 OECD countries, and one in 10 workers in Aotearoa report they have been bullied at work,” he said.

“Bullying can have serious and ongoing impacts on our mental health and wellbeing. People who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts – we all need to stand together to make Aotearoa a safer place for everyone, especially our rangatahi.”

Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying after a fellow student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

This is the third year that Cotton On has partnered with Pink Shirt Day. 100% of net proceeds from t-shirt sales go directly back into the Pink Shirt Day kaupapa – enabling the Mental Health Foundation to run Pink Shirt Day, raise awareness about bullying prevention and provide resources that promote inclusive workplaces, schools, and communities nationwide.