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Refuge for families healing from Domestic Violence opens

8 September, 2011

A refuge for families healing from Domestic Violence opens in Hamilton today

The goal of providing a space where not only women and children but whole families could go to deal with domestic violence was the dream of Ruahine Albert and Ariana Simpson who were the two founders of New Zealands’ first Maori Women’s Refuge which opened in 1987.

“Our whānau facility is finally here,” she said at the opening in Hamilton East today. “It has taken a mammoth effort of perseverance, faith, hard work and risk taking,” she said.

The two large modern furnished homes can accommodate up to 30 people where a wrap around service will be put in place to help them live free from violence. The walls are adorned with inspirational verse such as “whānau, we may hot have it all together, but together we have it all.”

Many of the prisoners who worked on Women’s Refuge projects during the building project were humbled by the way Refuge women did not judge them and gained an insight into the consequences of violence by repairing homes where an incident of domestic violence had occurred.

“The prisoners saw these women working day and night around battered women but they never had hatred or anger for the men,” said Ken Williams, chair of Te Rau Aroha Papakainga Charitable Trust which will oversee the operations of the two units.

“My dream now is to grow this facility, build a Wharenui for programmes and education on site and learn new ways to address and prevent domestic violence in Aotearoa,” says Ms Albert.


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