Ministry of Social Development - Paradise Hill


One quarter of women from all high-income homes in New Zealand suffer from domestic abuse – much higher than most Kiwis realise.

This lack of awareness, along with long-standing media misrepresentation, was identified as a key factor perpetuating the problem. Meaning victims from high-socio economic areas often remained isolated and un-helped, compared to their less well off neighbours.

The Ministry of Social Development needed to change this. They needed these high-income victims to know they were not alone and their communities to be aware of the problem.


To address this, we had to challenge the established media stereotype in a way that those outside it could identify with.

This meant turning an “unseen” problem into a visible and identifiable one and becoming part of the media conversation in the process.

Our strategy: go behind closed doors to reveal the reality of where domestic violence occurs in a way that generates a new media conversation.

Our idea: “Paradise Hill”, a fictional luxury home photo shoot – presented as real – in the pages of a home magazine in which the disturbing but subtle tell-tale signs of domestic violence were strangely visible. We’d then use this surprising photo shoot to spark a wider conversation about where domestic violence occurs.


We partnered with NZ’s HOME magazine to create the fictional photoshoot. Editor Jeremy Hansen supported the idea and presented the editorial as his own – the shoot even got a mention on the cover and index. This was genuine editorial, not “native” content or advertorial.

We used PR, social media and a film of the idea to spread it beyond the magazine’s readership, creating what Jeremy describes as “the most talked about issue in the magazine’s history”.

The idea sparked a national conversation about where family violence really occurs, reaching over 1 million NZers and changed people’s perceptions of where violence occurs and their likelihood to act.