Patricia McGrath's tangi helps spread anti-violence message

By Kristin Edge

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While a Northland family were grieving the death of Patricia Ann McGrath they were adamant about spreading the anti- violence message at her tangi as well.

Hundreds attended the burial of the 34-year-old mother of two, nicknamed Wowo, at Korokota Marae, Titoki, on Saturday with about 400 white ribbons - the symbol of a global campaign against violence towards women - being handed out to those who had come to pay their respects.

Ms McGrath died in hospital four days after being assaulted in her Kamo home. She was buried with a collection of her favourite things including a well-worn pair of black jandals that had a Rastafarian trim.

Her older brother, John McGrath, said the family wanted to grieve privately over their loss but because of the situation they wanted to get the message public that violence was not an option.

"We might have buried her but it doesn't stop there.

"She is the catalyst for us to campaign and make people aware of domestic violence and to say no ... it's a powerful message," Mr McGrath said.

"We are still hurting and there is anger but that anger was channelled into a beautiful day for my sister."

He hoped people at the tangi realised that all it took was a one push or a punch for things to end tragically.

"I know I had to step outside my comfort zone to draw attention to this issue."

Phillip Andre Mahanga, 32, has been charged with assaulting Ms McGrath and has been remanded in custody until January 21, when more serious charges are likely to be laid by police.

White Ribbon: IT'S OK TO ASK FOR HELP - CALL 0800 456 450.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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