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New Maori family violence initiatives launched in Waitakere

New Maori family violence initiatives launched in Waitakere

New initiatives aimed at preventing family violence amongst Maori whanau were launched at Hoani Waititi Marae in Glen Eden today, by the Waitakere Taskforce on Family Violence.

The Taskforce consists of a steering group of senior public servants and community leaders who oversee project-based activities and encourage coordination and collaboration amongst the many agencies involved in reducing family violence in Waitakere. The initiatives launched today have been developed by Tatai Atawhai, the Maori sub-committee which supports the Waitakere Taskforce on Family Violence.

"Maori constitute 13% of the Waitakere population and yet they account for over 30% of the family violence notifications to the Police. This has long been a concern for both me and the Taskforce," said the co-chair of the Taskforce Dr Pita Sharples, at the launch today.

A new strategic plan sets broad objectives for the prevention of family violence amongst Waitakere Maori. Tatai Atawhai will oversee the implementation of the plan over the next five years. Other initiatives launched today were:

. A new family violence intervention prevention service for Maori called Awhi Whanau;

. A literature review by authored by Dr Cindy Kiro;

. Billboards promoting the importance of whakapapa featuring local kaumatua Pio and Chrissie Jacobs and their mokopuna.

"The literature review which Dr Kiro authored provides us with a framework for understanding Maori family violence," chair of Tatai Atawhai, and Service Manager of Lifewise Family Services, Tiaria Fletcher said.

"This is the first step of a long term research project where we will track rates and trends of family violence amongst Waitakere Maori. With our billboard campaign we wanted to carry a positive message to our people. They are a celebration of whanau and whakapapa.

"And the establishment of Awhi Whanau is another significant achievement for us. The Police allocate family violence cases to support services in twice weekly meetings at the Police Station. Until now there have been no services for Maori at the table."

To address this gap Lifewise Family Services has created the Awhi Whanau initiative which works in collaboration with Western Refuge. Lifewise offers to whanau the longer term social work support and therapy, whilst Western Refuge supports Maori whanau at the beginning, crisis intervention stage.

"Lifewise has been concerned about the gap in family violence services for Maori whanau in Waitakere for some time," John McCarthy, General Manager of Lifewise said today.

"Although we're a mainstream service, we're committed to playing our part to support Maori service development within Lifewise as a means of addressing these gaps, and upholding our Treaty obligations as partners. To this end we have been very deliberate in creating opportunities for Maori leadership, and thus the launch of Awhi Whanau is an important milestone."

Dr Pita Sharples says he is excited by the opportunities being created by Maori for Maori and also with our Treaty partners.

"Family violence is an issue that is having a devastating effect on Maori whanau and a strategic and broad scoped plan such as this one is finally a step in the right direction for our people."


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