Bereaved dad aids refuge
The father of Matamata woman Helen Meads, who was murdered by her husband when she ended their violent 12-year marriage, is fronting the Women’s Refuge annual appeal.
David White is reliving his daughter’s tragic death to raise money for Women’s Refuge safe houses and educate people about the signs of domestic violence.
The lives of Mr White and his wife Pam changed the day Mrs Meads, 41, was murdered by her husband in September 2009, four days after she announced she was leaving him.
The 67-year-old grandfather, who has had to go back to work as a tanker driver to support 11-year-old granddaughter Samantha and an older daughter of Helen’s from a previous relationship, said he was honoured to be part of the campaign.
‘‘If there is anything at all that I can do to highlight the message of what Women’s Refuge is all about and the need for more care and attention about domestic violence then I will do it.’’
Before his daughter was killed, Mr White said he was relatively unaware of domestic violence but after her death the realisation of how widespread it was in New Zealand hit the couple like a ‘‘thunderbolt’’.
Every night in New Zealand 206 women and children feel so unsafe in their own homes that they seek refuge at a safe house.
Mr White said if his family had known more about Women’s Refuge it might have helped them think differently about Mrs Meads’ circumstances. ‘‘We thought at the very worst that she may get hit again. To go so far as to take someone’s life, that’s completely incomprehensible.’’
Mr White is making a wooden rocking horse to donate to the fundraising campaign, which from today begins with a series of celebrity and special tribute auctions on Trade Me. The horse is a replica of one Mr White had made for his daughter, a gift which now holds great sentimental value.
Helping hand: David White is helping to front the Women’s Refuge appeal and is making a wooden horse to be auctioned on Trade Me. He made a similar one for his daughter.