Nāti4Life concert aims to normalise conversation about suicide

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Suicide is something that has hit communities up and down the East Coast. With 4 in 2017, 8 in 2016, 13 in 2015. To address this issue, The Nāti 4 Life concert was set up to bring families together and create a space where preventative conversations can take place. 

This year the concert was held at Hinerupe Marae in Te Araroa.

Local school teacher, community member and father Taiarahia Melbourne says, "so it's about awareness, it's about information to the community and saying if you're down, here are some people who can help, here are some who have been through that experience.

Melbourne says it's Māori youth between 16-26 who are most affected by depression. In recent years his own son was lost to suicide.

"That's another reason for the music, to draw this group and their families so they can all hear because it's not just the individual that has the solution, it's the family, it's the community and the wider tribe."

Tuta Ngarimu says following the death of a relative in Ruatōria, the idea came about to hold a concert that would create a positive and interactive environment for the issue of suicide to be addressed.

"Because they felt that at the tangi (funeral) they were suppressed, nobody mentioned suicide at the tangi and that's what they felt that they needed they needed someone to talk about suicide and not hide it behind the door. 

The Nati 4 Life trust intend to take the conversation to all hapū of Ngāti Porou.

Ngarimu says, "The other good thing about going to place like Te Araroa, the first thing we look for when it comes to artists are the locals and we've got so much talent back here."

The concert heads to Tokomaru bay next year .