Breakthrough pledge to stop violence

Whānau at Waikawa Marae are helping find solutions to stop violence. Photo: Keelan Walker.

A community have pledged to stand united in a bid to stop violence from wrecking local lives.

Whānau at Waikawa Marae have banded together to make a stance against destructive behaviour.

Supporters gathered at the Marae on Sunday to sign a special Charter of Commitment, signalling the start of a new era.

The charter reinforces that Waikawa Marae is a safe and secure environment.

Chair of Tū Pono Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau Shane Graham says the idea is to develop long term solutions and a zero tolerance to violence.

“We acknowledge the work that needs to be done to prevent whānau harm and the strength that comes from a collaborative effort.

“The goal is for whānau to take ownership and responsibility for their actions and to develop solutions to address whānau harm”.

Making sure people feel safe in body, spirit and mind is the key message of the new charter.

It will take determination, courage and strength to see it through, says Shane.

“Our service model is based on the Mangopare which represents strength, leadership, agility, tenacity, unrelenting determination, courage, and wealth.”

Speaking on behalf of Waikawa Marae, Chair Rita Powick says they came up with their own solutions by working with the South Island Whānau Ora Agency.

“Through strong leadership and whānau input our plans are now coming to fruition,” she says.

Shane says there is no one answer to the problem and breaking the cycle of violence must come from action across marae, iwi, hapū and homes.

All people who belong to or visit Waikawa Marae come knowing it is a Tū Pono (Stand True) space.

“Through Tū Pono, whānau are being empowered to help promote a zero tolerance to whānau harm which is a more powerful message when we’re in it together than through agencies”, says Shane.

“We believe we are all responsible for ‘Standing Strong Together’ to build each other up and provide paths that can be transformational for whānau who truly want to break the cycle of violence and harm.

“We can’t stand by and watch.”

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