A Tairāwhiti contingent represented the region’s peer support service for male survivors of sexual abuse at the second annual Male Survivors Aotearoa hui in Nelson last week.

Photo: Nelson Mail pictures

Five members of the Tauawhi Charitable Trust, which provides governance for Te Hōkai: Male Survivors Tairāwhiti, attended the three-day hui along with MSA representatives from across the country.

Day one was focused on operational and practice issues, supporting peer workers in the survivor space.

The major part of the hui was held the next day at Whakatu Marae, where peer workers, managers and governance representatives met alongside national trustees and their tangata whenua sub-committee Te Roopu Tautoko.

Emma Powell, the new chief executive of the Joint Venture for Family and Sexual Violence, attended the hui and Minister for Family and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson joined by Zoom during the day.

“It was a good opportunity to hear from the Minister about the newly-released strategy Te Aorerekura and to hear her commitment and ongoing relationship with Male Survivors Aotearoa, for whom the voice of men as survivors has not always been heard in the family and sexual violence sector,” Tauawhi trust member and men’s centre coordinator Tim Marshall said.

Te Hōkai: Male Survivors Tairāwhiti, hosted out of the Tauawhi Men’s Centre, is one of five services established over the past two years — supported from funding received in the 2019 Budget by the national body to expand its services across the country.

The peer support service offered by Te Hōkai is delivered by Winton Ropiha, a survivor himself, and is based on the premise of people with lived experience supporting others with similar experiences.

Unfortunately Mr Ropiha was unable to attend the hui as he contracted Covid last week.

Mr Marshall said the hui was a good opportunity to listen, learn and connect, “particularly for our trustees in terms of their support of the service here”.

“We know that many of the men who come through our doors for perpetrating violence in adult lives are survivors of childhood trauma themselves, alongside others in the community who continue to feel shame for something that is not their fault or responsibility.

“So the ability to provide a safe space to share their story and begin or continue their healing journey is our hope.”

For more information or to access support from Te Hōkai: Male Survivors Tairāwhiti, call into 73 Peel Street or contact Winton Ropiha on 0274 125 495.

By Gisborne Herald
Published in Gisborne Herald