There is the Family Violence Prevention Expo, a public, free, one-day event in which family violence prevention agencies can connect with and inform the people of Whanganui on April 12, at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre.
Lorraine Sheenagh, Whanganui Family Violence Intervention Network (VIN) co-ordinator, is behind the expo.
She says there are 47 agencies, community organisations and government organisations, all local, that are involved in the Family Violence Intervention Network.
"They have all put up their hands and said 'yes, we believe in the vision, the kaupapa of what you're trying to do', and my role is to co-ordinate to build capability of the network and get everyone behind the vision so we're all bringing our strengths but working on the same page. So, providing training opportunities for people and building in the community aspects ...," says Lorraine, which is where the expo comes in.
The expo was held last year in the UCOL atrium.
This year, to get more members of the public along, Lorraine has engaged the services of guest speakers She is not your rehab — Matt and Sarah Brown.
They will speak on 'normalising courageous vulnerable conversations and spaces to listen/share as an antidote to passing on intergenerational violence and harm'.
Other guest speakers are Good Shepherd New Zealand, addressing Economic Harm and Healthy Financial Relationships.
"They are focusing on the fact that, a lot of times financial abuse is the thing that keeps people in these relationships, more than any other factor."
Also speaking is Christina Emery from Pride Whanganui will speak on Safe Spaces for Rainbow people in the community.
The network comprises diverse organisations, some of which don't deal specifically with family violence, but which are in a position to recognise it and to refer people to those agencies who can help.
Lorraine started in the position last year and has been tasked with making herself known to the network.
Her predecessor was Jo Hodder.
"Jo has got such good mana in the community, and she had done a really good job of reconnecting the network."
The network has been around since 1995 but there has been an ebb and flow of connected groups.
"Jo's whole thing was about getting people back on board, and because she knows everyone, she did a really good job of that."
Now it's Lorraine's job to carry on a grow the network.
"The [family violence] statistics in Whanganui and across the nation are dire ... we have 35 agencies working with perpetrators across the Whanganui region. It's a really big issue."
Lorraine is trying to use her own energy — and she has plenty of it — to find ways to weave the community together and promote change.
"Obviously, it is a long-standing, systemic issue, so it is not something that's going to be solved overnight, but the vision for the new strategy that the Government released last year, Te Aorerekura, is that family violence will be eliminated in New Zealand by 2040, which is not that far away.
"There's a lot of work that needs to be done and we have to start somewhere."
She says we can't make a true change without involving the community, because that's where family violence is.
"All of us can be taking small actions in our lives to disrupt violence, in the ways we feel capable, and that's part of what I'm trying to build awareness around."
She says more people are likely to do something if they feel they have knowledge and support of the appropriate agencies.
"Matt Brown is trying to change the conversation around what it means to be a man, so that's why I really wanted to bring him to Whanganui."
She says there are lots of groups that love his message, but it's completely disconnected from the lives they are living.
"The way that he's able to bridge that gap, because he has been there, he's grown up the same way that they have, but he has made a different choice for himself. This is not a solution, but an entry point, a catalyst for what we can be doing here in Whanganui."
The expo is about connection, bringing the community and agencies together, strengthening that relationship and improving knowledge and awareness to bring about change.
"It's going to build on the momentum of the expo that was held at UCOL last year, so there will be family violence agencies as well as other community organisations that hold to the vision and values and kaupapa of VIN," says Lorraine.
"It's a collective vision of 'we're in this together'.
"In the evening we are having a dinner — 'Tools of the Trade', conversations for men, facilitated by She's not your rehab Matt Brown. It's a men's health and wellbeing event for men to learn new tools so they can have honest conversations that set the foundation for healthy and safe relationships.
"It's marketed at men in the trades. People working during the day most likely won't attend the morning events. It's a free event but they will have to pre-register because of limited numbers."
What: Family Violence Prevention Expo
When: April 12, 9am-4pm
Where: Whanganui War Memorial Centre
Tickets: To register your interest as an organisation of agency, contact Lorraine Sheenagh (VIN) co-ordinator, email@example.com