Haka an of­fer of help

Leon Ruri is co-or­di­nat­ing a 500-man haka af­ter the An­zac Day Dawn Ser­vice in Kings Park on April 25 to hon­our the fallen and high­light is­sues of de­pres­sion and sui­cide among cur­rent veter­ans.

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d467541

A HAKA by 500 men to hon­our the fallen and high­light is­sues of de­pres­sion and sui­cide among cur­rent veter­ans is pro­posed af­ter the An­zac Day Dawn Ser­vice in Kings Park on April 25.

“There is still a war be­ing raged 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,” An­zac Day Haka for Life pro­po­nent Leon Ruri (40) told the Western Suburbs Weekly.

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.

Aus­tralian In­sti­tute for Sui­cide Re­search and Preven­tion’s Kate­lyn Kerr told the in­quiry there was no ac­cu­rate data record­ing all in­ci­dents across the states.

Mr Ruri, from the North Is­land of New Zealand, but who has been in Aus­tralia for 23 years, said the haka Ka Mate had the power to break the si­lence of men suf­fer­ing alone.

“The An­zac Day Haka For Life al­lows us to hon­our those that have sac­ri­ficed their lives on this most sa­cred day. 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 that have passed through sui­cide,” he said.

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, as Mr Ruri’s ini­tial re­quest was made when plans for the ser­vice had al­ready been com­pleted.

How­ever, 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.

“RSLWA sup­ports high­light­ing veter­ans’ is­sues, in­clud­ing men­tal health, as long as any group’s ac­tions do not de­tract from the sig­nif­i­cance of the day or of­fend those at­tend­ing,” Mr Holzberger said.

If plans are suc­cess­ful, the haka Ka Mate will be per­formed near the WA War Memorial af­ter the Dawn Ser­vice fin­ishes about 6.30am.

A prac­tice will be held near the site at 2pm on April 23. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at the An­zac Day Haka for Life Face­book page, in­clud­ing a haka in­struc­tion video.

RSL An­zac sun­set ser­vices from 5pm to 5.30pm will be con­ducted at the memorial’s Flame of Re­mem­brance from April 20 to 24.

■ For help, call Life­line on 13 11 14 or Veter­ans and Veter­ans Fam­i­lies Coun­selling Ser­vice on 1800 011 046.

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme

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