Support agencies working to prevent family harm in Whanganui and the wider regions found good networking opportunities at a two-day expo involving more than 20 agencies.
The Connecting for Community Action: Working Together to Prevent Family Harm expo was held at Whanganui UCOL this week.
The expo was a joint initiative between Safer Whanganui, Family Violence Intervention Network, and Age Concern, and supported by Whanganui District Council.
Safer Whanganui's Lauren Tamehana said the inspiration for expo was born out of interviews conducted across the Whanganui District Health Board rohe during the Covid-19 emergency phase last year.
"What the team found was that most people were unsure of the services offered around family harm, so we could see there was a need for this," Tamehana said.
Jigsaw Whanganui executive officer Tim Metcalfe said it was a great networking opportunity for all the community and agencies working in the area of family harm prevention.
"There was good involvement from crown agencies and it was good to have representatives from the court, the police, and the DHB present as well as a wide range of community agencies," Metcalfe said.
"There was a very strong representation from kaupapa Māori organisations and those working across all age groups from Plunket to Age Concern."
Metcalfe said Jo Hodder, who co-ordinates the Family Violence Intervention Network, hosted by Jigsaw was able to make a number of new connections and strengthen existing relationships.
"People were saying how good it was to put faces to names and make those face-to-face connections."
Multicultural Council of Rangitīkei/Whanganui president Pushpa Prasad was visiting the expo and said it was a good opportunity to connect with so many agencies in one place and promote the council's work.
"It was also a chance to find out more about the various agencies' work to share with our members," she said.
Agencies heard from speakers Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall, Whanganui MP Steph Lewis, Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson and Mahanga Williams from Mana Man.
Mana Man is a movement that transforms men by changing attitudes and behaviour and works towards healing families and communities.