An activist who staged a spirited protest at Hastings District Council is questioning why educational books on domestic violence were removed from a community centre.

During the demonstration on council steps on Wednesday, protest leader Peni Edwards, said the books' purpose was to educate children about domestic violence in the community.

She challenged Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst on why the literature was taken out of the Camberley Community Centre just days after being introduced.

"When they were removed I was thinking 'are you saying there's no need for these books?'


"Does domestic violence not exist in Camberley?'" Edwards said.

S.H.E, an acronym for Speak Up. Hear Her. End It. Break the Code of Silence was the theme of the protest as Edwards gathered with about 20 supporters.

"I addressed the books, the professional field and the knowledge in educating children, especially around domestic violence and the sexual assault, and the importance of using these books as a tool. After the books were taken, I never got a response, I've been waiting 41 weeks for a response from council."

During the protest she gave the books back to the mayor, who said she "didn't know" about the books.

"My issue is the way they view domestic violence in our community, I see it as systemic abuse, structural violence and such a social injustice and that's why I'm so irate."

Hastings District Council group manager community facilities and programmes, Alison Banks, said the books were removed because having them in council facilities came with a need to have appropriate resources and support attached.

"As an organisation, we are more than supportive of sitting down with our community and stakeholders to support them and their kaupapa but we also need to ensure that the proper support is available to members of our community who may react to the resources," Banks said.

Hazlehurst said she understood the community was hurt and council was working to bring about change.


"Domestic violence affects every sector of our community. We know our region's domestic violence statistics are too high and we are supporting various community agencies to help tackle domestic violence," Hazlehurst said.

"It is heart-breaking to hear from our community when they are struggling with what is a New Zealand-wide issue. We are conscious we can't fix this on our own and we are doing our part to help our people affected by it."

She said it was time to address family harm as a community.

"I am in the process of making contact with the community members and community agencies who took part in yesterday's protest so we can meet next week to work together to address this terrible plague in our community.

"The ultimate outcome for us would be to have caring and respectful community."