The Shifting the Line workshops and report

The Shifting the Line project started life as a study about how boys and young men would respond to a ‘change-oriented’ methodology that introduced questions about gender and sexism and online ethics. It was inspired by two quite different observations:

First, secondary school girls who we were doing research with on ‘sending nudes’ critiqued the way messages designed to prevent harm always focused on girls (implicitly or explicitly), advising them just not to send nudes. Where was the focus on boys and men, they asked – and we agreed, insisting that they handle nudes ethically and don’t show them or distribute them beyond their intended audience?

Second, while not many boys and men take on a prominent public role in sexual and family violence prevention in Aotearoa New Zealand, we were inspired by the boys and young men who spoke out in support of the high profile protest outside parliament against rape culture, which was organised by secondary school girls in 2017. We wondered how it might it be possible to reinforce and expand this kind of role for boys and men?

Since that time, of course, the problem of rape culture has not gone away, and ongoing sexism and gender inequality continue to feed sexual harassment, violence and abuse, as well as other forms of gendered violence. Current methods of prevention are missing the mark, we argue. It is time to try new approaches, and this includes working with boys and men to address the problematic ways that gendered norms are enabling and minimizing violence and abuse against girls and women, and others, including gender diverse people, and boys themselves.

In the Media

Here you will find a collection of news stories and media related to the Shifting the Line project

Our team

Our team is based in Te Kura Mātai Hinengaro | the School of Psychology, Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau | The University of Auckland.

Nicola Gavey

Octavia Calder-Dawe – Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University Wellington

Kris Taylor

Jade Le Grice, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa

Brandee Thorburn – Avondale College

Sam Manuela

Makarena Dudley, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu

Senuri Panditharatne

Riane Ross

Angela Carr

Robin Murphy

2021 Research Assistants:

Maddox Drew, Lita Foliaki, Jasmin Smith, Dasha Zapisetskaya


Our project has been supported by The University of Auckland, Netsafe (through an Online Safety Partnership Grant, funded by the Ministry of Justice), and the Marsden Fund Council from New Zealand Government funding, administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

We thank the boys and young men who participated in our workshops, for their interest in this subject, and their openness to sharing their views and experiences. We are also grateful to the organisations and schools whose students we worked with, and those staff who generously supported the research. 

Report cover image credit: Toby Morris.

For a fuller account of the people and organisations whose support and assistance we recognise and appreciate, see the Acknowledgements section in our report.