Family violence condemned at White Ribbon event

David Ellison speaks out about family violence at the Octagon on Saturday supported by Tahu...
David Ellison speaks out about family violence at the Octagon on Saturday supported by Tahu Mackenzie. Photo: Linda Robertson
Stand up to family violence. That was the message of a departing Dunedin Maori chief in his last public speech in the city at the weekend.

At a White Ribbon Day event in the Octagon on Saturday Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki upoko (chief) David Ellison (81) outlined what it meant to be an ambassador for the charity.

"He or she will not manipulate our hurt and fear, but will help us to see that we can overcome it together."

A White Ribbon ambassador was thoughtful, strong and compassionate and condemned all kinds of violence and abuse, he said.

The speech was his last in Dunedin as he was moving to the Kapiti Coast today to be near family there.

"I’m moving to avoid going into a rest-home".

His speeches were his way of trying to put back into the community what he had "got from it over the years", he said.

He had spoken in the past four years at similar rallies, he said.

Mr Ellison was involved with groups such as The Valley Project, the Dunedin RSA, the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council and the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group.

He was just one of the speakers at the event which aimed to raise awareness of men’s violence towards women.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said family violence was "everywhere".

"It’s in our city, it’s in our homes, it’s in our halls of residence at the university, it’s in our schools."

She spoke about the recent saga involving Tony Veitch, who was scheduled to host a TVNZ talk show, but the company reversed the decision after a public outcry.

In 2008, Mr Veitch pleaded guilty to a serious assault on his partner which broke her back.

"I have since had conversations with my 17-year-old sons that I wouldn’t have normally had," Ms Curran said.

Health Minister David Clark said he was proud the country was having these conversations.

However, it was still a "big issue" the country needed to tackle together, he said.

Stopping Violence Dunedin manager Cinnamon Boreham said the event was meant to create discussion concerning family violence.

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