Gifts cheer refuge families

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Women's centres make Christmas special for those affected by domestic violence.

Te Whare Tiaki Wahine Refuge manager Caroline Herewini (left) and Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare preparing gifts for the families who will stay with them at Christmas.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Te Whare Tiaki Wahine Refuge manager Caroline Herewini (left) and Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare preparing gifts for the families who will stay with them at Christmas. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Christmas can be one of the most dreaded times for women and children affected by domestic violence.

So those working at women's refuges around the country are hoping that a bit of Christmas cheer - good food, laughter and presents - will go a long way to helping these families at this time of the year.

The National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges is one of 12 charities to be gifted $10,000 as part of the 12 Days of Christmas initiative run by Auckland Airport.

The grant will go towards making Christmas a special time for hundreds of women and children who have been hurt or affected by family violence.

Chief executive Heather Henare said the money will be split up to help the 42 women's refuge centres around New Zealand, with each centre receiving about $240 to spend on hampers, food parcels, presents and for special Christmas-themed parties.

"We know that Christmas is a vulnerable time for families. There are monetary issues and a whole lot of pressure. And for many of those families where there's domestic violence, that added pressure can mean for a bad time for them," Ms Henare said.

"We want our women and children to feel loved, to be happy and to have a special Christmas - whether it be giving a little parcel for mum and some presents for the kids, that's what we want to do.

"We want to make their Christmas as good as any other."

Charles Spillane, of Auckland Airport, praised the work that women's refuges around the country provided for women and children.

"We feel it is important to assist Women's Refuge in providing some Christmas cheer for the families staying at the refuge houses this holiday season - a time which can create real challenges for people in need."

Airport windfall

This Christmas, the Herald is again featuring charities which have been selected for a $10,000 donation from Auckland Airport. The $120,000 to be distributed came from change donated by travellers this year.

- NZ Herald

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