Ending violence is an attainable goal

PETRA FINER
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2012

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After 38 years as a violent man, Vic Tamati thought it would take 38 years to feel violence-free.

Today he travels the country, sharing his story about how he achieved it.

The educator hosts two workshops in Manaia today to help stem the tide of family violence.

The frank and, at times, emotional speaker yesterday told a group of Ramanui School parents of the abuse he suffered as a child and then inflicted on his own children and wife.

The child of a violent father, Mr Tamati said he found it hard to understand why his violence was not OK.

"In my little coconut brain, I couldn't work out why everyone had given me a hiding but I couldn't give them one," he said.

"When I started it, I got an even bigger hiding and then got convicted and charged for it. I could never figure out why."

It was after he hit his 8-year-old daughter with a wooden platform shoe that his wife and five children left. When they returned five days later he swore he would change.

It was not easy. He failed the stopping violence programme he attended the first time, and returned because he said the alternative was death.

Both workshop sessions are at the Ngaruahine Iwi Health Services building in Ngatai Street, Manaia.

The men's only session, at 9.30am, is hoped to be an opportunity for men to express themselves in a safe environment, said Marion James, Taranaki Safe Families co-ordinator.

The afternoon session is open to families and begins at 1pm.

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