Start With a Smile campaign changes

1/11/2016 10:30 a.m.

Yesterday, Ashburton District Council began removing images of Mid Canterbury rugby player Kolinio Yabia Tamanitoakula from its Start With a Smile campaign.                

Tamanitoakula had taken part in a photo shoot for the campaign, prior to an alleged incident in Ruatoria, which has led to him being accused of assault with the intent to commit a sexual act.    

Mayor Donna Favel said, that although the issue was still before the courts, Council did not want to risk Start With a Smile being associated in any way with violence against women. "We were not aware of the accused's name until it was released yesterday," she said.

Start with a Smile has been hugely successful in the Ashburton District, with large numbers of people using the smile couch at community events and following the campaign on social media. "It has the potential to be incredibly powerful in encouraging our community to be more welcoming and friendly to newcomers," Ms Favel said.

Start With a Smile was initiated as part of the Ashburton District's special commitment to newcomers and migrants under the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy.  The campaign will end in Ashburton in March 2017 when it will travel to other parts of Canterbury.

Page reviewed: 01 Nov 2016 10:50am