Pua Magasiva's widow has revealed the full horror of her abusive relationship with the actor, culminating in a brutal assault on her the night he died.
Lizz Magasiva today reveals that, while the couple's social media profiles suggested the perfect "fairytale" romance, she and her daughter lived in fear of violence and emotional abuse.
She says she was concussed three times by Magasiva and the actor threatened to harm her daughter Laylah, now 8, during the two-and-a-half-year relationship.
• Pua Magasiva's dark final days: Actor's assault on wife Lizz now revealed after suppression lifted
• Pua Magasiva's widow speaks out about domestic violence
• Pua Magasiva's abuse: White Ribbon campaigner says 'we need to stop hiding the truth'
• 'Life will never be the same for us': Robbie Magasiva speaks out about death of brother Pua
"I enabled Pua, in a way, to be violent," Lizz told the Weekend Herald.
"I made excuses for him and made it easy for him to be that way. I want women to speak up and tell the truth. I have kept silent for so long."
The nation was shocked by the Shortland Street and Sione's Wedding star's death in a suspected suicide in a Wellington hotel room on May 11.
"The reality I was facing was it could've been me who died that night," Lizz says.
Minutes before his death the actor had attacked her in a drunken rage.
She says he banged her head against a table and left her bleeding.
"I was hazy but managed to run into the bathroom. He was still chasing me and punching me. I went into the shower but the blood just poured out."
When she emerged, still dazed and bleeding, she tried desperately but unsuccessfully to revive her husband, following instructions over the phone from an emergency call taker.
"I loved Pua," she said.
"He would threaten to kill himself if I went to the police - or kill me."
Lizz remains frustrated at the reaction to the way Pua was "glorified" after his death - particularly by the 38-year-old actor's "celebrity" friends and by his family.
"They all knew what was going on but did nothing. It is so hypocritical."
Lizz is also locked in a dispute with the Magasiva family, who are refusing to hand over Pua's ashes.
Pua Magasiva died 15 days after he was sentenced to supervision and community work for a drunken assault on Lizz. His name could not be published at the time but the conviction cost him a movie role.
The Herald successfully challenged the suppression order, which ended this week, and Lizz made a submission supporting ending the secrecy.
"It's so important to have Pua's name [suppression] lifted because the truth needs to be out and the truth creates understanding.
"I think we can all learn from this. I wish I had called the police but for my own reasons, I was trapped in a cycle.
"Domestic abuse is an important issue and being a teacher and a victim I think it needs to stop."
After Magasiva's death, Lizz found his diary behind a wardrobe. The pages are full of haunting images, tortured thoughts and self-loathing.
"He talks about a side I haven't seen which was admitting his violence, admitting his anger, admitting he had always been like this. It was really sad because he knew who he was.
"He knew how it was affecting me but he couldn't stop. What he didn't know was he could fix it. It's never too late to fix yourself and I would've stood by him."
Lizz said she was speaking publicly because she wanted women in violent relationships to understand they must "get help or get out".
Lizz, 33, says their relationship had extreme highs and extreme lows. Pua drank, and many of the attacks were fuelled by booze.
"After he hit me he would say 'sorry' even though he wasn't at all. I wanted to believe in the fairytale.
I wanted to believe that — as much as Pua was violent and nasty — he was loving and made me feel like the only person in the world."
Pua Magasiva's immediate family has declined to comment.
His cousin Fa'a Tonu Fili declined to respond to Lizz's domestic violence allegations, but noted "Pua is not here to speak for himself".
Lizz said it was "absolutely heartbreaking" not having her husband's ashes.
"I feel I spent my life covering up for him but I still loved him. We never spent time apart so I want to hold onto the good times as much as the bad."
DO YOU NEED HELP?
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.
Where to go for help or more information:
• Shine, free national helpline 9am-11pm every day - 0508 744 633; www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843; www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450; www.areyouok.org.nz
MENTAL HEALTH HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202