Scores of shoppers took the time to talk about solutions to whānau harm in Te Hiku at a recent Kaitaia Saturday morning market, and there was an overwhelming consensus — speak out and stand up for whānau and the community.
That fitted perfectly with the philosophy behind Whiria Te Muka, the partnership between Te Hiku iwi and the police, who are working together in Te Hiku to reduce and prevent whānau harm while uplifting mana tangata.
The team hit the Saturday market to canvas public attitudes to how whānau harm was defined, whether it was an issue in Te Hiku, how to address it, and how confident people were about calling 111 to report it.
The pop-up stall was led by Whiria Te Muka intern Jasim Skinner, who had spent the previous five weeks working alongside the team before returning to Auckland University to begin her second year of studies in health science and pharmacy.
"I wanted to get Whiria Te Muka to engage with the community, to share with them what Whiria Te Muka does, and gain some understanding around what whānau harm is like for our community here," she said.
Whānau harm was defined in terms of physical, emotional, mental, sexual and environmental violence and abuse that resulted in trauma to the individual and whānau.
Of the more than 100 people who responded, 98 per cent recognised whānau harm as an issue in Te Hiku, and 93 per cent were confident to very confident about calling 111.
The solutions that came forward were rich and varied, Whiria te Muka co-director Callie Corrigan said, from changes in individual behaviours to changes in systemic environments. People identified alcohol and drug consumption, lack of positive role models, low socio-economic factors and what was perceived as a poor police response as contributing factors to the prevalence of whānau harm.
The stand-out solution, however, was speaking up and speaking out as a whānau and a community.
"Silence is violence," one respondent said.
Other suggested solutions were more support services, stronger relationships within whānau and community, better educational pathways, and adapting social media to create open dialogue and generate safe, positive spaces.
"In the past 12 months approximately 960 incidents of whānau harm were reported in Te Hiku via 111, impacting more than 3000 people" Ms Corrigan said.
"The pop-up stall provided a great space to generate community conversations on whānau harm and bring the kaupapa into the light. While we recognise there is much more mahi to do, this was a valuable learning opportunity."
Anyone who feared that they or other whānau members were at imminent risk of harm should contact one of the crisis teams: the police (111), the Women's Refuge crisis line (0800 REFUGE — 0800 733-843), or the Shine National Helpline (0508 744-633).