Twin Harmony recognised for mahi to end family violence

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Warning: this story discusses themes of family violence. Discretion is advised.

Musical twins, Tanemahuta and Teakaraupo Pakeha-Heke are two teenagers making a huge difference in the music world.

The 16-year-old brothers, also known together as Twin Harmony, have not only become mentors for rangatahi but also advocates against family violence through their mahi and their music - trying to break the cycle of family violence since they were nine years old.

Now the brothers have been recognised for their efforts as finalists at the Impact Awards, an event celebrating remarkable young New Zealanders making a difference.

Tanemahuta shared the backstory of his whanau, his brother and their mother’s lives, having experienced family violence.

“My father was a very violent person and my mother was a victim of family violence. My brother suffered most of the violence.”

Their mother died early when the boys were still young, and her death was connected to domestic violence.

“Because of the violence, it’s kind of a big passion of ours to stop it. It’s a big cycle of all whānau, but within our whānau we have stopped it,” Tanemahuta says.

Their grandmother, who works in the same type of mahi and other figures has also helped the brothers in their journey.

“[Nan] gave us the voice when we were young to speak up. She had whanaunga, Matua Daniel and Whaea Tania Mataki – we spoke to them and they gave us more of a voice.

“We then went with this kaupapa called Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau. The main leaders of that were Tā Mark Solomon, Dame Tariana Turia and Whaea Tania. Through them, we spoke up, shared our message of 'no more violence, women and children are treasures and they should be treated that way.'

“That kaupapa, the whakataukī was: Whānau for whānau, doing it for whānau, led by whānau."

The award winners will be announced during the Festival for the Future in Wellington at the end of this month - New Zealand's biggest innovation and leadership summit. 

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Women's Refuge NZ - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843, or the Family Violence Helpline - 0800 456 450.