As part of our White Ribbon Day focus on stopping men's violence against women, I interviewed a variety of tane working in our services within the Kirikiriroa Whanau Ora Cluster.
What do they think about men's violence against women?
Where does it come from?
What is their personal commitment to eradicating violence against women?
"The first step is for men to acknowledge the notion of equality, partnership, that a woman's voice is equal...
In my work, I work with couples where [men's violence against women] is prevalent. Both are equal voices in the partnership. I also use this in my own parenting and marriage..."
- Terry (dual diagnosis clinician, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa).
"Unless society can eliminate violence against women and children, I will never be safe.
"As a gay man, I think it's important that men make a statement, a commitment to keep my home, my community safe and free of violence, or I will never be safe...
My kuamo'o (Hawaiian facial tattoo) is like a trigger - I wear it 24/7, like a badge. It is always there, as a reminder, like when I wash my face each morning I see my trigger and I think what does this mean and being an example, a kind of small action..."
- Kaipo (Whanau Support Worker, Piki ki Te Ora)
"Once were warriors told my story... I see [men's violence against women] as the most low, grittiest pain and degrading on our women...
And it's so common - it goes back to my father's father... I write music about love and respect - I've just gone number 1 on Amplifier.co.nz (Love your Children) ..."
- Marcus (music teacher, Rongo Atea).
"We stand in front of our women to protect them. That's the first big thing to me ...
Our opposition slaughtered all our women and children and it put us back a few generations - we're still affected by it...
I've always thought that people who resort to violence don't have the ability to express themselves verbally. The ability to communicate is essential and a lot of these boys don't have that these days..."
- Reweti (Kaimahi, Okate Kai Paipa).
"A lot of our Maori families have been brought up in that harsh environment where men have more authority than women.
Women have more prestige than men because they make life... [Because of their father's violence and absenteeism] our boys miss out - a lot of boys are in jail because they have not had that male role model ...
It starts with me - the way I treat my partner. It's all good me saying it, but I've got to walk the walk too ... I give a lot of advice to young men.
If I can be a role model I am doing my bit to stopping that from happening ..."
- Pedro (youth coach, Whaimarama).
"I know it's not right. It's really bad - I don't like it because there was violence in my background and I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't do it...
Physical violence is not acceptable, neither is verbal abuse... I really don't have a solution to stopping or preventing it other than education that will support the cause...
I have no idea what commitment I can make but I will commit to knowing what I can do by next White Ribbon Day..."
- Whitinga (IT support, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa).
And for me (Steve Neale): I feel sad to know men generally are not stepping up in their commitment to stopping their own and other men's use of violence against women.
We know violence is not just a physical thing but verbal, emotional, use of intimidation and all of the rest and we must always be conscious of that.
My commitment is to re-commence facilitating living without violence groups at HAIP - for my own wellbeing, as well as for others.
And next year I'm going to make a way better job of White Ribbon Day.