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.

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