The cousin of a Hastings woman who died after an alleged assault says it's time to rise up against violence against women.

Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, 21, wants to honour her late cousin Taylor-Jade Hira's memory, even though her and Taylor drifted apart in later life.

Hira was 22 when she died in Wellington Hospital after an alleged assault on August 15.

Police today arrested a 26-year-old man at a residential address in South Auckland.


The man will appear in Manukau District Court on Saturday morning facing a charge of assault with intent to injure.

Further charges are likely to be laid, police said.

Ihaia, a social influencer who was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand in 2017, said she had wondered, if she and Hira had not drifted apart over the years, that perhaps things would have been different.

"I felt disappointed in myself, I felt if I had kept up that connection maybe I could have had a different influence on her life.

"Which is why I want to dedicate part of my business to her. Her passing made me realise I could have made a change.

"I feel like Hawke's Bay does not cater for whanau, and we need change and I am making that change."

Ihaia said she was in the process of creating a physical village that was dedicated to helping wāhine and their rangatahi and wanted to dedicate part of it to Hira.

"When you are young wāhine, you don't have many female role models to look up to.


"Kids see men beating up their wives and they grow up thinking it is okay to hit and be hit."

She added that women were taught to "shut up, keep quiet and not tell anyone", but that needed to change.

"Now we want to be heard. This generation should question why, have newer role models."

Ihaia remembers Hira as always smiling.

"She could only be that happy because of her whanau. She was a beautiful person inside and out.

"I take my hat off to them. The whole community helped shape her into the beautiful person she was."

Hira was "the sunshine of her whanau", she said.

"I always knew her as a little kid, always happy, smile on her face. Everybody loved Taylor.

"For me Taylor was the light for everyone, she was easy-going, went with the flow, always the person who stuck by you.

"But we drifted apart, and the next time I heard about her was of her passing."

Taylor-Jade Hira's tangi was held at Te Aranga Marae, Flaxmere and she was laid to rest on Thursday.