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Mike King Korero to Get Whangarei Talking About Suicide

Media Release: Engage Aotearoa & The Key to Life Charitable Trust

For Immediate Release: 01/04/2013 | Updated 5/04/2013
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Mike King’s Community Korero will hit Whangarei from the 8th to the 9th of April to throw solutions at the problem of suicide, with a series of public seminars. NZ has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world, especially among older people and youth. Estimates suggest that 1 in 6 New Zealanders have suicidal thoughts every year. As Mike King puts it “The Korero encourages people to help fight suicide by talking and supporting each other rather than taking their own lives. Silence is not the solution.” Rather than simply telling people they need to talk, King leads by example; Through sharing his own story, he opens the way for community members to share theirs.


In the Community Korero, comedian Mike King gets straight up about his battle with depression, addiction and his ongoing journey back to recovery, including the mistakes he made along the way. This is a not-to-be-missed chance for communities to come together and explore how to support our youth and each other to survive and thrive. People can ask the questions they have always wanted to ask during a Q & A session at the end of the talk where Mike is joined by Engage Aotearoa service director Miriam Larsen-Barr, who also has a lived experience of recovery from being suicidal. Together they are an example of how the issue of suicide can affect anyone, Pakeha and Maori, men and women, young people and adults.

The Q & A is a chance for local professionals, parents, teachers and people with personal experience of these issues to discuss how we as individuals and communities can use our experiences to prevent suicide. Those with questions can ask them and those with knowledge can share it. Feedback from the Community Korero in Kaitaia included comments like “loved it”, “amazing evening, Mike opening his heart and bringing this community together” and “we should have another one I reckon.”

The initiative hopes to reach local schools in Whangarei in the future, through Cool to Korero, a special student-centred session that gives kids a chance to seek help and empowers youth to lead the way in creating supportive school and community environments. At least 20 students came forward to seek help for active suicidal thoughts after the Kaitaia and Taipa talks and were linked in with support.

Students commented “It was mint. I like how you approached the subject like not too serious and yeah, shot oi!”, “Thank you so much, words don’t suffice” and “you should come back mah gee!” Teachers commented “Thank you for giving our rangatahi options to stand up, speak up and seek help” and “I BET you have saved lives today.”

Community Korero is open to the public and a resource table provides plenty of take-home information about everything from suicidal thoughts and supporting someone who is suicidal to recovery and community services.  Local services are welcome to bring information to share with the community too – people can simply bring their materials along and add them to the table.

Larsen-Barr comments “suicide is a really hard issue in our communities. There are so many people who are prepared to help and who are already helping.  When our powers combine, I truly believe great things will happen. But first, we need to talk about it. Mike’s Korero creates a space to do that.

For more information visit www.engagenz.co.nz and click on Mike King Talks.

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Mike King: Cool to Korero at Far North Schools 5 & 6 March 2013

Engage Aotearoa and The Key to Life Charitable Trust have organised an opportunity for every high school student in and around Kaitaia to attend a special session with Mike King called Cool to Korero. The focus is on developing supportive school communities and a culture where it is okay to ask for help. The overall aim is to prevent further suicides in the Far North.

  • Taipa Area School, 1pm – 3pm, Tuesday 5th of March
    • Open to senior students and parents from surrounding schools by prior arrangement with Taipa Area School
  • Kaitaia College, Wednesday 6th of March
    • Open to year 9-13 students from surrounding schools by prior arrangement with Kaitaia College
    • Morning Session: 9 am – 11 am (For all year 9 and 10 students)
    • Afternoon Session: 11:25 am – 1:25 pm (For all year 11, 12 and 13 students)


Many thanks to Mental Health Commissioner Lynne Lane, who heard of the project and arranged funding to allow Skylight to send boxes of resources to gift to the community.

Lane says, “It is important that everyone has a better understanding of how to develop the resilience to cope with the challenges that life holds. We also need to learn how to recognise when someone is struggling to cope with life and to know what to do to support them on the path to recovery.  It is important  to know the early signs of when someone is developing problems, so that they can get help and avoid becoming seriously unwell.  We are all much better informed about how to keep our hearts healthy and how to avoid having a “heart attack”  (healthy eating and exercise etc) and now we need to learn how to keep ourselves mentally well and what to do if someone we care about  is  having problems.

Mike King’s Community Korero will take place at Te Ahu on Tuesday March 5th from 6 to 8 pm and is open to the whole community.

Read The Northern Advocate’s February 28th newspaper article here: An Audience with the King

Mike King Visits Kaitaia to Inspire Solutions to Suicide: 5 & 6 March 2013

Engage Aotearoa and The Key to Life Charitable Trust Present…

Mike King’s Community Korero

  • Venue: Te Ahu Centre
  • Date: Tuesday 5 March 2013
  • Time: 6 pm – 8 pm

It is time to stop throwing negatives at the problem of suicide and time to start throwing positives at a solution! Comedian Mike King gets straight up about his battle with depression, addiction and his ongoing journey back to recovery, including the mistakes he made along the way. Hear about the things he learnt from the hard times and how all those mistakes were blessings in disguise. This is a not-to-be-missed chance for the community to come together and explore how to support our youth and each other to survive and thrive. Plus heaps of useful resources to take away for later.

This important community event is followed by two student sessions the next day at Kaitaia College…

Mike King: It’s Cool to Korero

  • Date: 5 March 2013
    • Taipa Area School
  • Date: 6 March 2013 
    • Venue: Kaitaia College Hall
    • Session One – Years 9 & 10 at 9:00 am – 11:00 am
    • Session Two – Years 11, 12 & 13 at 11:25 – 1:25 pm

Students get to spend some quality time with Kiwi comedian Mike King as he talks about how he survived growing up. Mike’s is the story of a kid who wanted to fit in. It is about wanting to be part of the cool group but being 4’11 with buck teeth and big ears and needing a miracle to make it happen. Then one day he discovered he had a gift to make people laugh and he went from being bullied, to being liked and then many years later becoming a bully himself. Mike will share tips on how to deal with bullies and also why bullies do what they do. Most of all, he will speak about why it is important to talk rather than have conversations with yourself.  Mike’s main point is this… in life there will always be hurdles and heartbreak, but with perseverance, support and an attitude of hope, great things WILL happen.

Community Korero Poster Update 1 March