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Published Friday 21 Jun 2019

A Lincoln University student and her friends want to turn around the alarming trend of young rural males that are committing suicide after she lost her boyfriend - a 21-year-old North Otago high country shepherd.

“I want males to ‘speak up’ about surviving their own battles with depression and in turn create a culture where we are more confident to share that surviving is a strength not a weakness and that it is ‘normal’. Shepherd’s love their team of working dogs. They often spend a lot of time with them alone out in the hills and when they are isolated on the farm. Their dogs are always loyal and never force them to speak. But.. shepherd’s often command their dogs to ‘speak up’ to bark and muster sheep or cattle. So the question now is, why won’t you?

“We are using Jess, who was my boyfriend’s favourite black huntaway, as the mascot for the New Zealand ‘Speak Up’ tour. We want to ram home the power of having gratitude.”

Jess will go on tour across New Zealand in 2019 with Elle & Sarah to host a year of symbolic ‘Speak Up’s’ in rural country pubs with a ‘bark-up’ and evening of speakers & entertainment.

They are in Wairarapa at the Gladstone Sports Complex on June 26th, featuring a night of food, storytelling, live music & a charity ‘Bark Up’ of huntaways with prizes to be won!

Bring your dog to SPEAK UP against rural suicide. Any funds raised passed the target will go towards hosting more locations on the ‘Speak Up’ tour calendar in 2019.


Click HERE to book now