Tina wants women to walk away

JESS MCALLEN
Last updated 11:43 30/06/2014
DANIEL GALVIN/Sunday Star Times

Tina Cross has released a new single with all of the proceeds going to Women's Refuge.

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Kiwi music legend Tina Cross is lending her voice to a campaign to help victims of domestic violence.

Cross is releasing the single Walk Away to raise money and awareness for Women's Refuge.

The song will debut at a "State of the Nation" discussion on Friday, addressing issues for women and children in New Zealand. It will mark the start of a month-long awareness campaign about domestic violence.

Walk Away will be the first single singing sensation Cross has released in 25 years. She was inspired by meeting "brave" women from Women's Refuge and wanted to help.

"I'm not trained to deal with these sorts of problems but I can give my gift of song," Cross, 55, told Sunday News.

While Cross has never personally experienced domestic violence, she said playing the role of beaten wife Beth Heke in a musical adaptation of movie Once Were Warriors had heightened her awareness of the social issue.

"By the end of the six-month stint, I really felt quite battered. Just having to deal with the abuse of the role, even if it was just acting, was really weird."

Cross played Walk Away to a group from Women's Refuge, in an acoustic session at her home on Auckland's North Shore.

"I was actually quite nervous.

"One of the ladies cried. She said, 'My god, that line ['she cannot breathe so how can she talk'] that just really got me'."

Cross said New Zealand's domestic violence rates were "shameful".

"I hope the song will be of use to someone; that it will get those alarm bells ringing to call Women's Refuge instead of another domestic violence tragedy."

Women's Refuge chief executive, Heather Henare, said they were "over the moon" about Cross's decision to involve the organisation in her upcoming national musical tour.

"It will provide a way of educating smaller communities about our work and reinforce the ways women can reach out," Henare said.

Women's Refuge has 41 affiliated refuges throughout the country.

Funds raised from Walk Away will be used to support services including intensive support for women and children, training and education courses, and promoting social change through raising awareness about domestic violence.

Meanwhile, Cross's career spans 39 years and Walk Away is part of a yet-to-be-named album of material the public has never seen before.

Some songs were written nearly 20 years ago and the album includes tracks about emotionally-charged events in Cross's life.

Find Your Way is about her children leaving home and Gabby Boy is dedicated to a friend who died from cancer.

For more information go to womensrefuge.org.nz

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