The Massey community is reeling after one of their own was stabbed to death in the middle of a suburban street, allegedly by her ex partner, on Monday.

Now, in a bid to save others from losing their lives in similar circumstances, community leaders and advocates are calling on all Kiwis to do their part in reducing family violence.

Just after 8.30am on Monday a woman was stabbed to death on Westgate Dr in Massey.

Witnesses told the Herald a man ran up to her, stabbed her repeatedly and then took off in a car.

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He was captured by police just eight minutes later - after a member of the public used their own car to stop the fleeing vehicle - and taken into custody.

Hours later he was charged with murdering the woman, his ex partner, and breaching a protection order that was in place to prevent him having contact with her.

The 63-year-old was granted name suppression, meaning the victim cannot be identified yet.

Police are also in the process of notifying her family overseas.

The woman had lived in West Auckland for a number of years.

Her death has shocked and outraged the country - particularly her own community.

The incident was witnessed by a number of Massey locals, some who tried to intervene and give the fatally injured woman CPR.

They are said to be traumatised.

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"Massey residents are in shock that a normal Monday morning turned to such devastating tragedy in broad daylight," said MP for Upper Harbour Paula Bennett.

"That so many people went to the victim's assistance and a member of the public stopped the alleged offender is not a surprise to me. People in West Auckland are community focused and stand up for one another."

Bennett, who is a proud West Aucklander, commended those who stepped in to help the woman.

"As we all try to come to terms with such hideous violence, I want to thank the members of the public that stepped in, and pass on my sincere condolences to the victim's family and friends," she said.

Waitākere Ward councillor Linda Cooper knows the area where the woman was allegedly murdered well.

She walks the area several times a week in the early hours of the morning and she is far from alone - it's a popular route where people like to take their dogs.

It was a safe area, she said, but Monday's tragedy had been keenly felt by locals.

"It's such a shock for our community, and I really feel for the woman's family," she said.

"My heart goes out to them, I can't imagine what it must be like for them."

Family violence could happen in any community, Cooper said, there was no single demographic.

"This is happening in people's homes every day," she said.

"It's the hidden scourge of our country.

"We have got to do better on family violence."

Statistically, the most dangerous time for women in terms of family violence is when they attempt to leave their partner.

Cooper, who is the chair of West Auckland family and sexual violence support group Family Action, had witnessed that firsthand.

"That's the tragedy of this," she said.

Cooper also commended those who had tried to help the woman on Monday morning.

"They care enough to get involved, and it could have been really risky for them," she said.

"When we have had things like this happen in the past in Waitākere, we have rallied together."

Family Action CEO Michelle Clayton said family violence was occurring far too often.

"Seventy per cent of family violence in the Waitemata area occurs in West Auckland."

Last year alone the group had 2900 referrals – not all of which was for family violence, some were due to sexual violence, she said.

"We need to be taking it seriously as a community, reporting incidents to the police and asking people if they are ok."

If people were concerned for their own safety or the safety of others they could contact the group as they were the women's refuge in West Auckland, Clayton said.

Family Action also offered support and counselling, which some witnesses may feel they need, she said.

"We never turn anybody away, even if they can't afford to pay. We try to make life as easy for people as possible when they have undergone traumatic events and tough times."

Victim advocate Ruth Money works with people affected by family violence every day.

The woman's death was an "absolutely unnecessary tragedy", she said.

Money described family violence as an "epidemic" in New Zealand and called on Kiwis to do their part in curbing the harm done to people, particularly women.

"Forty per cent of all New Zealand homicides are family violence - wake up New Zealand, this is happening in our communities," she implored.

"This is not a problem that happens in other streets – it is happening in your street.

"Every four minutes there is a family violence call to police, and we must rally together to ensure we are all standing up and taking collective and positive action."

The needs of victims of violence had been "largely ignored and certainly under-resourced" for many years, Money said.

"This epidemic is a blight on our country and until we see significant and urgent action it will continue to be so."

It was critical to establish "multi-disciplinary teams" from police, Oranga Tamariki, health, education and the community to tackle the issue properly, Money said.

"And we need to over-invest in helping children so the intergenerational harm can be 'unlearned'."

Whau Local Board deputy chairwoman Susan Zhu, also a practising lawyer specialising in family law and litigation was "shocked and saddened" by the death.

"This incident was the worst form of family violence in all means," she said.

"I am really sorry for this lady and her family.

"In the last decades, I have been working in the communities as a community leader in promoting messages and awareness of family violence is not ok; and in my professional capacity, I work with both the victims and perpetrators of family violence, seeking legal protections in the court for the victims, and proper address of the harm caused by the family violence.

"Seeing one of our community members stabled to death in broad daylight in our street is so sad."

The first flowers to be laid at the cordon by a member of the public. Photo / Chelsea Boyle
The first flowers to be laid at the cordon by a member of the public. Photo / Chelsea Boyle

She had been speaking to people about the case, Zhu said, and many ask "whether there is anything else we could do to stop these things happen in the future".

"I believe we need to have more wrapped around support to family violence victims as well as the perpetrators," she said.

"It is common that people who are involved in family violence feeling ashamed and not willing to be connected with others.

"I would like to encourage them to reach out and seek help from their communities and neighbourhoods.

"There has been a recent recognition of the importance of the support to the perpetrators, where they could get help to address their emotional issues, and help with legal issues while the cases are going through the court.

"This may also be helpful to reduce the likelihood of these type of tragedy incident happen in the future."

Shine general manager Jane Drumm said a protection order can be an important tool to assist a victim of family violence get access to help to become safer.

"Whenever someone has sought a protection order from the Family Court, it should be treated as a desperate cry for help and an indication of how very fearful they are for their safety," she said.

"However, it is critical that women know that a very robust safety plan is required if they are in danger and having a protection order may only be one component of this – it is not a solution.

"It is also important to know that any overt form of resistance to the violence that women may take will often be met with swift and harsh retribution, so this needs to be taken into account in their safety plan."

Women's Refuge chief executive Dr Ang Jury also weighed in on the broader issue.

She had "such sadness" for the Massey victim and her family.

Jury said in general New Zealanders often did not want to accept that extreme violence was happening within families in their community.

"We talk about domestic violence, wringing our hands about tragic outcomes, but we still tend to think it's something that happens to someone else - another family - not ours.

"We need to get real about this issue."

She said extreme violence never occurred suddenly.

"There will always be a buildup of preceding abuse- often seen as minor or explained away as a 'relationship issue. It is not," she explained.

"Violence is always a choice on the part of the abuser and we must stop finding ways to excuse it away."