Haka set to highlight veterans’ mental health issues
A HAKA by 500 men to honour the fallen and highlight issues of depression and suicide among veterans is proposed after the Anzac Day Dawn Service in Kings Park on April 25.
Leon Ruri said depression had a devastating effect on war veterans.
“There is still a war being waged against men in our lounges, in our homes, that is absolutely decimating us and we need to fight against this because it is a battle we are losing,” he said.
Mr Ruri (40) wanted to organise an Anzac Day Haka For Life.
In February, a Senate inquiry was told the estimated rate of suicide by veterans was about 12 per 100,000, twice the rate of deaths from car crashes nationally.
Mr Ruri, who is originally from the North Island of New Zealand, but who has been in Australia for 23 years, said the haka had the power to break the silence of men suffering alone.
“The Anzac Day Haka For Life allows us to honour those who have sacrificed their lives on this most sacred day,” he said. “It allows us to honour all men, to show men can come together in love to express our feelings of gratitude and support for each other and to remember those who have passed through suicide.”
The proposed haka may be performed by anyone with a Kiwi connection to reflect the original bonds created by the Australian New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) in 1915.
The proposal does not yet have RSL approval because Mr Ruri’s request was made when plans for the service had already been completed.
But RSLWA operations manager Martin Holzberger said there was no objection to commemorations made by others “in their own way” in public areas after the service.
If the proposal is successful, the haka Ka Mate will be performed near the WA War Memorial after the Dawn Service finishes about 6.30am. More information at the Anzac Day Haka for Life Facebook page.
For mental health support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Leon Ruri wants an Anzac Day memorial haka Ka Mate at Kings Park.