Getting together to stop violence
Waiora Pene Hare feels the community needs to band together in order to combat family violence.
So she's encouraging the west to get involved in a twilight vigil at Hoani Waititi Marae to commemorate the lives lost due to abuse.
The Courage by Candlelight event coincides with White Ribbon Day on November 25, which aims to create awareness and take a stance against domestic violence.
Ms Pene Hare is Waipareira Trust's family violence intervention co-ordinator and says it's important society gets together to acknowledge lives lost to violence.
"If we can do this together as a community it creates a pathway.
"I have a vision of pulling our community together. I think we're a little fragmented," she says.
The vigil will be centred around a hand-made quilt by Auckland artist Thelma McGough where the names and ages of 139 New Zealand children who have been killed by family violence over 20 years are embroidered on the fabric.
Ms Pene Hare says seeing the names of people killed by violence will bring a more personal approach to the issue.
"It pricks your conscience and makes you consider and start questioning how you interact with your own family," she says.
Ms Pene Hare has a personal background with domestic violence and has had friends killed by domestic abuse.
"Up until I was 28 years old I was lucky enough not to experience family violence but one day I was hit by my daughter's father," she says.
She was able to leave the relationship but realises it's not as easy for other women.
Ms Pene Hare has dedicated her career to helping women, working as a nurse and at the Women's Refuge.
Manager of anti-violence service Waves Trust Tiaria Fletcher says the vigil is an important step toward addressing violence in the Maori community.
"It's been raised by a Maori organisation, in a Maori setting, a marae. It's the perfect environment for Maori to come together and acknowledge the issue.
"There's been some really sad events for our people in the past," she says.
Ms Fletcher says the west has a strong community network but needs better Maori leadership to address family violence and child abuse.
The vigil will begin at 6.30pm where the quilt will be carried on to the marae and each name read out.
There will be a White Ribbon March at 1pm where the community is invited to gather at Waitakere Hospital and walk together to The Falls Restaurant
- Western Leader
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