Haka set to high­light vet­er­ans’ men­tal health is­sues

North Coast Weekender - - News - Jon Bas­sett

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.

Picture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d467541

Leon Ruri wants an Anzac Day me­mo­rial haka Ka Mate at Kings Park.

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