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Save The Children Supports S: 59 Repeal Campaign

Save The Children Supports Campaign For Repeal Of Section 59 At Once Were Warriors Stage Show

Jake “The Muss” Heke will present Cantabrians with a grim reminder of New Zealand’s high incidences of family violence this week when the nationwide tour of the Once Were Warriors stage show begins in Christchurch.

Premiering tonight, the production aims to increase awareness of the repercussions of family violence among New Zealanders.

With director Jim Moriarty’s endorsement, Save the Children is one of 24 children’s rights organisations to promote the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act1 at the show. Mr Moriarty will have a petition at theatres, asking people to support the repeal.

“I want to use theatre as a means for making change so that not another child dies,” he said.

Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand John Bowis said Section 59 contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was officially adopted by the New Zealand Government in 1993.

“In its current form, the Crimes Act does not reflect Article 19 of the Convention, which states that the Government should protect children from all types of mistreatment,” said Mr Bowis. “It provides a statutory defence for parents and caregivers who mistreat children and this must be changed.”

“Exposure to family violence is one of the most damaging influences on a child’s development and life-long behaviour. New Zealand has the third-worst rate of death by child abuse and murder out of 27 OECD countries2.”

“We need to create a community culture of non-violence toward children. Jim Moriarty’s production is an excellent vehicle for achieving better understanding of the need for repeal and at reducing misguided fears about the implications of a law change.”

The Once Were Warriors stage show plays at Christchurch until 10 March and again from 24 March, Dunedin from 16-19 March, Auckland 10-28 April and Wellington from 3-22 May.

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