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Matariki - Re-Birth Of A Community

Matariki - Re-Birth Of A Community

Police are holding a torch-lit family violence dawn vigil on Tuesday 27th June on Mangere Mountain to raise awareness about a crime that is destroying families.

Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent Steve Shortland along with Maori Party MP Pita Sharples will head the vigil set to take place on Mangere Mountain before dawn at 5.00am.

"We want to use Matariki, the start of Maori New Year, to call for a new beginning and start afresh in a united way, so we can at least talk about the way forward and listen to how the community intends to work with police in stamping out family violence."

Mr Shortland says there are many victims of family violence and each torch is representative of those killed as a result of this crime.

"It's a chance for everyone to reflect and gain an understanding of what the human cost is to the community if we let this violence continue. We can't stand by and let children believe it is normal behaviour to see their father abuse their mother or for the children themselves to be on the receiving end."

Family violence accounted for 42% of emergency response calls and police dealt with over 10,000 family violence related jobs over the last fiscal year, from July 2005 to June 2006. These jobs range from arguments over who is cooking the dinner to serious injury or homicide cases. Out of 12 homicides this fiscal year (1st July 2005 - current) in Counties Manukau nine were domestic related.

Matariki is the Maori name for the group of stars known as the Pleiades or The Seven Sisters and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year. Matariki is a time of new beginnings, a time to pause and reflect on the year that was and the year that will be. It is a time for people to take a look at their lifestyles, their health and make some changes for the better.

When adding up the ethnicity of those affected by family violence in 2005 in Counties Manukau, Maori make up 50% of both offenders and victims.

"Police along with the community want to signal that it is time to do something tangible, send a message to the children in our community that family violence is not acceptable and take some positive steps to stop this crime which is ruining so many families."

Both Superintendent Steve Shortland and Pita Sharples extend an invitation to those families who have lost family or friends through family violence to attend the Matariki vigil.


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