By Te Ao Māori News

One of New Zealand’s toughest conversations has taken place on Te Koutu Marae in Rotorua.

A report on the importance of whānau and the community in preventing violence against Māori women and children was released earlier this year, undertaken by the Ministry for Women’s Affairs and the Ministry for Social Development and this weekend they’ve taken the discussion to a whānau forum in hope it will prompt change.

The open discussion is one of many the ministry is having across the country. Te Koutu resident, Lauren James of Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa attended the launch of the discussion paper and says “We have to start changing because when you look at statistics like these regarding partner and child abuse and also violence going on in communities we have to start changing.”

The discussion paper focussed on solutions from within the communities and families. While most of the groups who attended were service providers, others also attended to represent their whānau interests.

Today also marks eight years since the death of Nia Glassie the three year-old who died from sustaining injuries by extensive physical abuse.

Te Koutu community will rally tonight in memory of the toddler and reaffirm its stance against violence.

According to Women’s Refuge New Zealand, one in three women experience psychological or physical abuse from their partners in their lifetime and on average 14 women, six men and 10 children are killed by a member of their family every year.

New Zealand Police are called to around 200 domestic violence situations a day, that’s one in every seven minutes on average it’s also estimated that only 18 percent of domestic violence incidents are reported.