A former Catalonian and now Whanganui resident watched with mixed emotions as violence and turmoil boiled over in her home country.

Whanganui resident Queralt Scott comes from the area of Spain known as Catalonia
She watched with horror images of people with bloodied faces resulting from police violence in Northeastern Spain on October 1.

The people were voting in a referendum that asked the question - "Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?"

The Spanish government had declared the referendum illegal and sent 4000 police clad in riot gear, armed with rubber bullets and carrying batons to the polling booths.

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Mrs Scott says it is a complex situation.

"Politics is one of those topics that is easy to give your opinion - like religion, it is not my field and I find it a bit complicated when somebody asks me about the situation.

"I am from Barcelona, from a Catalan family but I can only speak for myself and for my experiences.

"In my own family, there are different versions of how to explain the Spanish reality nowadays.

"Everyone has different ideas about what would be the best solution to make everybody happy.

"The only certainty is that something has to change," she says.

As a teacher of Spanish language at Whanganui High School, Mrs Scott says she explains the situation to her students by comparing it to the fantasy drama TV series Game of Thrones.

"Spain was made up of a few different kingdoms only 300 years ago and, by marriage or by wars, it was formed into the Spain we know today."

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From 1939 until 1975, Spain was ruled by military dictator Francisco Franco Bahamonde known as General Franco.

After his death, the country experienced La Transición - the transition to democracy which led to the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

"The constitution worked well for a number of years but now I compare it to a marriage contract that no longer suits the parties," says Mrs Scott.

"The situation is like a marriage breaking down and the behaviour of the Spanish police is like domestic violence."

Despite Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's statement that Catalans had been fooled into taking part in an illegal vote, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said the door is open to a unilateral declaration of independence.

Over 2.2 million people were reported to have voted and of the votes that were counted, 90 per cent are reported to have voted for independence.

Catalonia is self-governing in areas such as police, health and education however areas of taxes, foreign affairs and most infrastructures are ruled by the Spanish government.

Despite making a symbolic declaration of independence last Tuesday, Puigdemont then suspended it and made a call for negotiations with Madrid over Catalonia's future.

Queralt Scott says she hopes there will be a good outcome for the people in her "other land".

"Things cannot continue like they are now, and they will never be the same as they were," she says. "They have to find a solution for the best future of the two nations."