While there was plenty of action on the field during Northland's ITM Cup game against Counties Manukau on Saturday spectators and TV viewers around the world got to see a very important message.
The game, Northland's final match of the season, was dedicated to the It's Not Okay in Whangarei, anti-family violence campaign, with the Northland Rugby Union (NRU) one of the many backers of the campaign.
Special permission had to be obtained from the NZRU to put the "Family Violence, It's Not Okay" slogan onto the pitch.
The match was broadcast live around New Zealand and included in highlights packages watched overseas.
The campaign was launched at Toll Stadium in July, where five messages that focused on family violence, to go on the back of a bus, and billboards and banners were unveiled.
The campaign is the initiative of community groups, including members from Northland District Health Board, Women's Refuge, Barnardos, Ngati Hine Health Trust, The Pulse, Toll Stadium and Manaia Health PHO.
"NRU is absolutely committed to promoting a violence-free Northland," CEO Jeremy Parkinson said.
"The Whangarei launch at Toll Stadium in July had a profound effect on our organisation and motivated us to get behind the campaign."
To show their support all children 14 and under paid a gold coin entry to the last home game with all proceeds going directly in support of this important ongoing campaign.
Vic Tamati, the National It's Not Ok national champion spoke to the crowd at half time with two-year-old Sophie Rostern, the face of the Whangarei Campaign at his side.
"We are clear that family violence is not ok and strongly advocate that people seek help through the It's not ok information line on 0800 456 450 and break the cycle of violence,"NRU commercial manager Alistair McGinn said.
Article courtesy of Northern Advocate