A runway success for refuges

By Lindy Laird


Tryphina House and Te Puna O Te Aroha Maori are used to dealing with full houses so it was fitting that a fashion show to raise funds for the two women's refuge centres was a sellout.

About 250 people attended Wednesday night's charity fashion extravaganza, Soo Tru ... Sew True: The Runway Show, at Whangarei Art Museum to raise money for the women's refuges. A further 60 people had to stand behind the sold-out seating.

Whangarei Art Museum director Scott Pothan said sales of the show's premium seats alone had raised $5000, with the total from the other seats and associated sales yet to come in.

The entertaining, glamorous, fast-moving parade ended with a sombre message when representatives from the two organisations spoke about how communities had to stop tolerating family violence.

Jodi Findlay-Harris, from Tryphina House, and Stacey Pepene, from Te Puna O Te Aroha Maori, urged the audience to offer help or call for help for anyone who seemed at risk.

It could be a family member, a neighbour or a stranger who needed help, and staying silent was harming the women and children who lived within the community, Ms Pepene said.

Ms Pepene and Ms Findlay-Harris thanked the organisers and audience for their support and generosity.

The message was made more real when Karen Edwards, mother of Ashlee Edwards who was killed in Whangarei last July, spoke about her daughter's death.

She urged family or friends to intervene if they felt women and children were in danger or needed support.

Mr Pothan said though the final total was yet to come in, the evening had been a tremendous success.

It was the second runway show held at the art museum in conjunction with current exhibitions.

A similar event was held last year for Project Promise, the trust raising money for an oncology unit at Whangarei Hospital.

- Northern Advocate

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