Aug 2014: But this profile didn’t just happen.
We needed something memorable,” says Warren Tumarae, Bully Free Bro project coordinator. “We started off by thinking about the language young people use, their interests and fashions.”
With text-speak (‘lol’, ‘brb’) becoming a part of everyday language, using an acronym seemed a logical approach. “We needed something that rolled off the tongue and was easily shortened,” says Warren, “t”
To help spread the BFB message, Warren called on existing networks and connections. Soon, Bully Free Bro was all over Rotorua community events, like the kapa haka regional competition, the Rotorua night market, and Waiariki orientation week. It wasn’t about creating their own events, but leveraging off existing opportunities.
“If we support community, they’ll support us. And the more well known we are, the more media coverage we’ll get.”
The idea of using celebrity endorsements came from Warren’s sales and marketing background. Having personal connections with a local hip hop dance crew and actor Temuera Morrison helped, of course, but the kaupapa of the project needed to be something they could all stand behind.
“It meant good publicity for us – and for them!”, Warren explains. “Having celebrities involved brought media to our events, and gave us an opportunity to develop our own relationships with the media. Now the journalists come to us for BFB story leads.”
And while Warren’s passion is a driving force behind BFB, he’s not doing it all on his own. There’s a strong group of youth and adult ambassadors and supporters who spread the message – and take on various aspects of the campaign, like photography and social media.
“They have skills and experience that I don’t have,” he says, “And they’re keen!”
Bully Free Bro is a Te Waiariki Purea coordinated project.