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Ak. Once Were Warriors anti-family violence forum

Media release
19 April 2004

Third ‘Once Were Warriors’ anti-family violence forum to take place in Aotea Square


The third of four free public forums on the issue of family violence organised by Child, Youth and Family, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community groups, with the cast of the musical drama ‘Once Were Warriors’, will be held on 22 April in Aotea Square, Auckland. The musical opened in Auckland’s St James’s Theatre on 10 April and runs until 28 April before moving to Wellington where the final public forum will take place on 13 May.

The series of public forums has been organised to reach audiences who might not otherwise see the musical and to draw attention to the issue of family violence, which is one of its major themes. In ‘Once Were Warriors’, the central character Beth, finds a way to end the ongoing generational violence in her family. The forums aim to inform the public about community initiatives and support services available to them to help break the cycle of violence they might be experiencing.

Shannon Pakura, Child, Youth and Family Acting General Manager Social Work Operations, said: “We are privileged and looking forward to holding this free forum in the main square of New Zealand’s most populated city. The issue of family violence needs to be openly discussed, brought out from behind closed doors. Domestic violence must no longer be tolerated. There are services in local communities to support those who are experiencing domestic violence. Hopefully they can find the strength to access these supports and stop this abusive behaviour.”

During the forum, artistic director Jim Moriarty, will speak about his inspiration to bring ‘Once Were Warriors’ to the stage and discuss family violence and the importance of addressing this societal issue for the wellbeing of future generations of children and young people.

Jim Moriarty has been instrumental in holding a number of theatre therapy programmes in Child, Youth and Family residences. At least one member of the musical’s cast was a participant of these residence theatre groups.

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Members of the cast, including lead female character Tina Cross and Maria Rose MacDonald, who plays her daughter Grace, will perform songs from the show. Cast members will also share their own experiences of abuse and how they have worked to overcome them.

Child, Youth and Family and organisations such as Auckland Rape Crisis, the Mental Health Foundation, Save the Children, Relationship Services, Man Alive, the Institute of Public Policy, Tangata Mauri Ora, the Domestic Violence Centre and the Child Poverty Action Group will support the forums by providing information to the public about anti-violence programmes run within local communities and on services that those experiencing family violence can draw on.

The forum takes place between 12:30 pm and 2 pm.

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Notes to Editors

‘Once Were Warriors’ plays at Auckland’s St James Theatre between 10-28 April and then at the Opera House in Wellington between 3-22 May. Tickets are available through Ticketek outlets. The organisers of the forums are grateful to the production company ARTCO Ltd, for allowing the cast and support team to be available for the forums.

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