Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Family violence: Church mentors help local men man up

Harry Haira (left) and Pastor Rewi Hare mentor men, including those who want to stop their violent behaviour. Photo / Stephen Parker
Harry Haira (left) and Pastor Rewi Hare mentor men, including those who want to stop their violent behaviour. Photo / Stephen Parker

"Sick and tired" of seeing stories about men abusing women and children, Harry Haira decided to do his bit to help solve the issue.

He became a facilitator with the Rotorua Man Up programme run by Destiny Church, and shared his story about how he overcame a past where he was violent.

The programme, which has been running for about two-and-a-half years, is all about men focusing on purpose, finding potential and taking ownership.

It's about empowering men to overcome life issues - including family violence - and strengthening them to become better husbands, fathers and leaders in their community.

While not all those who go through the programme have issues with family violence, it is one of the problems they deal with alongside issues such as depression and relationship issues.

Mr Haira said the Man Up programme had been successful, with hundreds of men taking part and some "phenomenal" changes.

While he wasn't proud of his background, which had included some physical and emotional abuse towards a former partner, Mr Haira said he was incredibly proud of the changes he had made.

"I'm not proud of it but I am proud of the outcome."

He said he believed sharing his experience helped.

Mr Haira said seeing examples of a different way to behave and treating women with respect was much more effective that just hearing about it.

"I didn't know any better," he said.

Destiny Church pastor Rewi Hare said family violence was an issue that affected a range of people.

Mr Hare said some men had grown up in situations where it was the norm.

"A lot don't understand what's normal and abnormal. A lot have been brought up in that environment and just think it is normal."

Identifying the issue and admitting there was a problem was the first step. It was also important to talk about what caused men to become violent.

Mr Hare said the programme included former perpetrators talking about the changes in their lives, which he described as "absolutely powerful".

He said hearing "tough, staunch men" speak about the issues and the changes made a big impact.

Where to get help:

* Waiariki Women's Refuge - (07) 349 0852.

* Family Focus Rotorua - (07) 346 2096.

* It's Not OK helpline - 0800 456 450.

* Shine national helpline - 0508 744 633.

- If it is an emergency, call 111.

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