Call to stop family violence

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Phil Paikea is a tireless ambassador for the It's Not OK campaign.
Phil Paikea is a tireless ambassador for the It's Not OK campaign.

Three Northlanders who know the devastation caused by family violence are part of a new television advertisement campaign.

Couple Phil and Rowena Paikea, along with Karen Edwards, feature in a line-up of well-known New Zealanders in the "It's Not OK" adverts.

Rowena Paikea has suffered violence at the hands of her husband.
Rowena Paikea has suffered violence at the hands of her husband.

The two 30-second adverts aim to give people a language to use around family violence, and permission to say that it's not okay.

Everyone featuring in the refreshed ads is an advocate for violence-free families, whether as community mobilisers such as Tim Marshall and Elizabeth Kerekere, well-known faces including TV reporter Mike McRoberts and entertainer Tina Cross, or family members who are living with the tragedy of family violence homicide, like David White and Karen Edwards. Ms Edwards' daughter, 21-year-old Ashlee, was murdered by her partner Jimmy Akuhata in 2012. Akuhata pushed Ashlee over a bridge in central Whangarei, then grabbed her hair and held her beneath the water until she showed no signs of life.

In May 2015, he was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 years.

"I want to be part of this campaign because I have lost my own child to domestic violence and if this can help save one more life that is why I am doing this," Ms Edwards said.

"Never stay silent. Reach out to friends and support them. Help yourself or anyone that you know is at risk."

Former violent Northlander Phil Paikea was a former chapter leader of a gang, who turned his life around by going back to school after a stint in jail.

Paikea is now an ambassador for the "It's Not OK" anti-violence campaign and works tirelessly for prevention of family violence in Northland.

He is a former perpetrator of domestic violence. One of his victims was his wife, Rowena.

This is the first time Rowena has participated in the "It's Not OK" initiatives alongside her husband.

Their marriage survived the violence and they have been married for 35 years.

"For me being in these ads is about empowerment for couples, to encourage them that if we can do it, so can they.

"There is hope for everybody and never to be ashamed," Mrs Paikea said.

Karen Edwards urges people to "never stay silent" over family violence.
Karen Edwards urges people to "never stay silent" over family violence.

Research has shown that the campaign's TV advertising to date has increased people's motivation to act, as victims, perpetrators or influencers.

One in three people who recall the earlier campaign advertising say they have taken some action as a result.

Nine out of 10 people believe that change is possible, and six out of 10 believe they could influence someone else's behaviour.

- Northern Advocate

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