Waitangi Day march to focus on violence

By Kristin Edge

A Whangarei family is continuing to raise awareness about domestic violence after the death of Patricia McGrath and will lead a hikoi on Waitangi Day.

Ms McGrath, a 34-year-old mother of two, died last month after what police believe was a domestic assault in her Kamo home.

Nine days after her death, her brother John McGrath led a march of about 500 people through central Whangarei to raise awareness about domestic violence in the hope it would prompt women to leave violent relationships.

Posters of Ms McGrath were carried by members of her family along with posters of murdered Whangarei woman Mairina Dunn, Sophie Elliott - who was stabbed 218 times by her former boyfriend in Dunedin - and of Ashlee Edwards, who was found dead under a bridge in central Whangarei last year.

Mr McGrath expected the posters would again be carried in the Waitangi Day hikoi in the Bay of Islands.

"We want to get the message out there that enough is enough. Women shouldn't be scared to speak out," he said.

Mr McGrath's wife, Kate, has started a Facebook page called Ngakau Atawhaitanga - Movement of the Heart, in the drive against domestic violence.

Those participating in the march will gather in Paihia at 9.30am and then walk to Waitangi. Mr McGrath said people were welcome to join in at any stage.

- Northern Advocate

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