Wheeling in anti-violence message
Takurua Tawera, 55, a domestic violence survivor, will be passing through his birth town to shed light on what South Waikato police say is an ‘‘appalling’’ epidemic plaguing this community.
The father of three said he is looking forward to bringing the anti-violence message to Tokoroa and Putaruru when he visits on November 23 and 24 as part of the White Ribbon ride.
The convoy will stay at the Tokoroa High School marae on the night of the 23rd before undertaking activities at the school the next day from 9am till 10.30am.
‘‘South Waikato is like many of our communities nationally, there are issues that occur.’’
He said the aim is to empower men, violent or not, to make a stand against violence towards women in particular.
Born in Tokoroa in the 1960s, Tawera said even the best of men make bad decisions, including his father.
He said the ride, which has gained nationwide attention, aims to target ‘‘good men’’ too, who have been silent for a long time, who haven’t had any information on how to support perpetrators.
The ride should spark talks in both towns which still suffer high numbers of domestic violence callouts.
Putaruru senior sergeant Jason Shailer said the problem was appalling.
He said every callout was a drain on police resources, costing 2-200 hours in man time.
‘‘ For serious assaults you’re looking at hundreds of hours and it could be for an incident that was as fast as a couple of seconds of violence.’’
His staff attended 23 family violence callouts this October compared to 15 for the same period last year.
‘‘That’s nearly one a day . . . I think it’s disgusting. As a country we’ve got better systems in place to try and prevent it. Everyone is doing their best but I think it comes down to the fact that people need to find other ways of dealing with [their anger].’’
Tokoroa police attended 65 family violence callouts in October this year compared to 50 in 2013.
Senior sergeant Graeme Hill said the White Ribbon ride was a timely event heading into the ‘‘busy’’ pre-Christmas season.
‘‘ The is probably the worst period for us, money gets tight and people start panicking.’’
But they are heading in on a good footing, he said, after last week recording the lowest number of family violence incidents in the past four years –10.
‘‘Considering that at our peak we were doing 30 a week, that’s good. And people wondered why we had no time to do anything else?’’
He said Tokoroa’s biggest problem was that family violence sufferers did not use the support services available.
‘‘Other services currently provided are aptly skilled and funded to deal with [relationship issues].’’
He said people needed to be proactive if change was to happen.
‘‘We would prefer people to use the ambulance at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, that’s us. We pick up the pieces from the carnage at the bottom.’’
Tawera hopes men in South Waikato will stand up and make a commitment when the riders pass through.
‘‘We are a little bit like a flame, our role is to promote and support communities by bringing in our bikes. They are a draw for the communities but it’s the message that is key for us.’’
On a mission: Takurua Tawera will ride through his birth town of Tokoroa inviting other men to take a stand against family violence.