Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Refuge grant helps families start life again

Co-ordinator Christina Teikamata (right) helps a resident and her baby. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Co-ordinator Christina Teikamata (right) helps a resident and her baby. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Leaving an abusive partner is a huge step for many women. But starting a new life can also be very difficult.

Te Whare o Mangere Women's Refuge is helping women who have suffered from being in an abusive relationship move on with their lives.

Each year, the refuge takes in dozens of families - women and children who have been victims of domestic violence.

This year, the organisation will get $10,000 from Auckland Airport's 12 days of Christmas giveaway.

Co-ordinator Christina Teikamata says they are thrilled to get the grant, which will go towards purchasing items for women and their children who are leaving the refuge to start a new life in a new home.

"They generally have nothing. When the time comes and they move out, we give them home packs to help them start over," Ms Teikamata said.

The homepacks include bed linen, kitchenware, car-seats and other items that a family may need, such as a vacuum cleaner and curtains.

Ms Teikamata said giving the women a second chance did wonders for them.

"A lot of them have had their heads down their whole lives because of an abusive relationship or childhood. We really are struck by the poverty they've come from and the barriers they've faced to move forward.

"When they leave, they're just so overwhelmed ... and they're really happy and motivated."

The Auckland Airport has been running its 12 days of Christmas project for six years now. A total of $120,000 was raised by the airport and members of the travelling public this year.

Airport general manager of corporate affairs Charles Spillane said: "The refuge dedicates its time to helping a large number of women and children every year and we feel it is important to support the demanding and incredibly important work they do within the community."

- NZ Herald

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