City stepping up to stop the violence

By Mike Dinsdale

Vic Tamati used to be violent and abusive towards his wife and kids, but he has turned his life around and will be joining an anti-domestic violence march through Whangarei on Monday.

Mr Tamati is now one of the faces of the national It's Not Okay anti-domestic violence campaign and will be joining hundreds of others expected for Monday's march through the city, which has the backing of Whangarei police and the Northland District Health Board.

Monday's march comes after the death of mother of two, Patricia Ann McGrath - also known as Wowo - who died on January 8 after she was taken off life support following an assault four days earlier in her Kamo home. Ms McGrath's family will lead the march in the hope that Patricia's death was not in vain and that it would inspire people to report domestic violence.

Others joining the march include Queenie Dunn, mother of murdered Whangarei woman Mairina Dunn; Lesley Elliott, mother of Sophie Elliott who was stabbed 218 times by her former boyfriend in Dunedin; and Karen Edwards, mother of Ashlee Edwards, who was found dead under a bridge in central Whangarei last year. They will all be carrying posters of their loved ones.

Mr Tamati, who spoke at the launch of the It's Not Okay campaign in Whangarei last year, said he used to be a violent man, but wanted to help others overcome violence to live a non-violent existence, particularly in relation to their children.

Anybody wanting to take part in Monday's march should gather at Laurie Hall Park from 9.30am, with the march starting on Bank St outside the Court House. It will proceed down Bank St, on to Cameron St, then Rathbone St, and finish at Laurie Hall Park.

- Northern Advocate

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