A domestic violence project three years in the making will be launched in Hawke's Bay next week with aims of preventing abuse in families and communities through better use of people and networks in the communities.

Tu Mai Awa stems from an international conference held in the Bay in 2014, and the launch of the new project will take place at Matahiwi Marae, Clive, on July 20.

Its focus is response-based practice and draws on the experience of such people as Canadian luminary Dr Allan Wade, who delivered a paper to the earlier conference.

A dream of trustee Joe Bailey, South Africa-born but now living in Hawke's Bay where he has worked as a care and protection co-ordinator, it's a partnership including Hastings Women's Refuge and calls on such other advisers as University of Otago Associate Maori Dean Suzanne Pitama, professor Wade associate Dr Cathy Richardson, Massey University psychology clinic director Dr Ruth Gammon, who specialises in wrap-around services, Prof Mandy Morgan, who has looked at how services are provided, and Laurie Te Nahu, a director of Hastings-based education and capacity building consultancy Tai Pukenga.


Mr Bailey said Tu Mai Awa works with experts in the field to design approaches, provides training and ongoing support to individuals and organisations implementing the approach, with Massey University to ensure those accessing intervention can tell us about their experience the Tu Mai Awa approach and other helpful responses they receive from institutions.

"We use this information to advocate for systemic change, to improve our response and to design new initiatives," he says, with a promise that it won't be "beholden" to funders in the way it does things, other than in the outcomes.

Tu Mai Awa is particularly concerned about the impact of statistic-driven response, particularly that based on such figures as the 118,910 family violence responses recorded by police over the last 12 months.

It's an 8 per cent increase on the record - the previous year. But last year's figures show more than 40 per cent disclose no offence. Male assaults on females were recorded at 6377 for the last 12 months, and other statistics show notices requiring further notification have dropped by a third in the last five years.

White Ribbon ambassador and chairperson Mark Longley says Tu Mai Awa is a multi-cultural, community-based project that operates by creating networks in communities and using the skills of people in those networks to develop the most effective strategies for those communities.