Be­reaved dad aids refuge

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NATALIE AKOORIE

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.

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