Media releases

Time to reflect about the reality for women and children

21 May 2014
Taking time out to assess the rights, status, health and safety for women and children in New Zealand today is the cause behind a Women’s Refuge Symposium planned on July 4th in Auckland. “We saw lots of optimistic social spending announcements from the Budget and we have heard reports of lower crime and lower unemployment, but what is the reality for the majority of our women and children today,” says Women’s Refuge Spokesperson Kiri Hannifin. The Symposium on Women and Children... Read more

Dreams Raise Money for Women’s Refuge

26 February 2014
A Women’s Refuge dream has come true with the sale of Dream Magnets at The Warehouse stores throughout New Zealand raising $127,508 for the charity. “More than 70,000 Dream Magnets were sold, each with inspiring messages for families,” says Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare. “Within the package we were also able to share key messages about how people can seek help for domestic violence and also help anyone they knew who might be experiencing domestic... Read more

Women’s Refuge Statement about Tragic Murders In Dunedin

16 January 2014
Last night’s murder of two children by a violent man who had a protection order against him is a tragic reminder of how much more we must do as a society to address domestic and family violence in New Zealand says Heather Henare, Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge. “We need to concentrate on the fact that there is a link between breaches of protection orders and domestic violence murders in this country,” she says, “people who threaten to kill should be treated in... Read more

Toyota drives Women’s Refuge in fight against domestic violence

3 December 2013
Reliability is critical for Women’s Refuge, as face to face time with women in the grip of a violent relationship can save lives. Enabling on-call advocates to support families 24 hours a day in their homes is one use for the 25 new Prius v supplied by Toyota. Taumarunui Women’s refuge co-ordinator Sonia Hepi-Treanor says the local community service’s new vehicle – one of the 25 – has made “an enormous difference”.“The Taumarunui Women’s Refuge... Read more

‘Elves on the Shelves’ to donate to Women’s Refuge this Christmas

28 November 2013
For some, Christmas is the most joyful time of the entire year - but for approximately 2,000 New Zealand women and children - it is far from that. Heather Henare, Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge says: “The festive season provides a variety of challenges for violent or potentially violent households. Money stresses, families spending more time together and alcohol can all contribute to a cocktail of violence and unhappiness.” A partnership with The Warehouse called ‘Elves... Read more

Self Defence courses help victims of violence to live without fear

18 November 2013
A self protection programme for female victims of domestic violence has shown impressive results in helping to increase their awareness of danger and how to prevent future rape or assaults. The Violence Prevention Programme was a new pilot study funded by the Vodafone Foundation as a collaboration between Women’s Refuge and the Women’s Self Defence Network Wahine Toa (WSDN). The programme reached 54 young women aged 17 to 24 years over four courses in February - April and researchers... Read more

Dream Magnets to help the dreams of abused women and children

21 October 2013
The Warehouse will sell ‘Dream Magnets’ to help thousands of women and children find their dreams this year. Announcing a community partnership between The Warehouse and Women’s Refuge, its Chief Executive Heather Henare says, “hundreds of thousands of customers visit The Warehouse every day and they will be able to help Women’s Refuge by purchasing attractive and inspirational Dream Magnets.” Funds raised from the magnets will benefit more than 80,000... Read more

Release of Police statistics October 1, 2013

1 October 2013
Note to media: This was a release sent out September 24th. Women’s Refuge believes that the Police will be explaining how some information about family or domestic violence can be read from the release of their statistics on October 1st.They will also indicate future statistical releases that will provide more extensive information on family violence. However, for Women’s Refuge there remains some questions that require answers and we hope that journalists in New Zealand do actually... Read more

Heather Henare was honoured as Zonta’s ‘Woman of the Biennium’ by Zonta

30 September 2013
Chief Executive of National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges, Heather Henare was honoured as Zonta’s ‘Woman of the Biennium’ at the Zonta International, District 16, National Conference held in Queenstown at the weekend.This biennial award recognises an outstanding New Zealand woman, whose contribution to the lives of women and girls in the New Zealand community epitomises the values and aspirations of Zonta International. Previous recipients of the award are: Designer,... Read more

More organisations should ‘Say No’ to Violence against women

28 September 2013
At the Zonta NZ Conference in Queenstown this weekend, Ms Heather Henare was announced ‘Woman of the Biennium’. This is an honour awarded every two years to an outstanding woman who has made a significant personal contribution to advancing the status of women through “leadership, service provision and/or advocacy”. In a panel presentation at the conference Ms Henare thanked Zonta for this acknowledgement and also for it’s International campaign ‘Zonta Says... Read more

Do Police Statistics represent true picture of domestic violence in NZ

26 September 2013
Crime Statistics for the fiscal year are due out next week and three agencies dealing with domestic violence are worried they won’t show the true level of domestic violence in New Zealand. “I hope these statistics give realistic information about the true incidences of domestic violence,” says Heather Henare, Chief Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, “we would be very disappointed if the statistics released are not comprehensive. ... Read more

Help a Woman be Heard

21 June 2013
‘Give her a voice and help her be heard’ is the catch-cry of the Women’s Refuge July 2013 campaign. The ‘look’ of our campaign this year is similar to the popular 2012 ‘Donate Your Words’ Campaign to continue promoting the essential service provided through our 0800 REFUGE line. We’ve built upon this success by launching July as Women’s Refuge Awareness and Appeal Month, giving our refuges greater opportunities to educate their communities about... Read more

Women’s Refuge is sharing this Press Release from the Glenn Inquiry

10 June 2013
9 June 2013 - The Glenn Inquiry Board is confident that its safety and security standards around information held by the Inquiry are of the highest standards. Chairman Bill Wilson says any suggestion that the Board, the CEO and staff of the Inquiry would breach the confidentiality of anyone speaking to the Inquiry is completely unfounded.“The comments made to media are defamatory and highly offensive. This appears to be a vendetta by disaffected former employees and contractors.” Wilson... Read more

Womens Refuge Statement about Julian Savea and the NZRU

22 April 2013
Women’s Refuge is disappointed the New Zealand Rugby Union allowed Julian Savea to play over the weekend despite being charged with assault last week.“Domestic violence is a serious crime and one of the biggest social problems in New Zealand. When an All Black has been charged with a domestic violence offence, I would have thought the All Black 'brand' would want to act decisively to distance itself from such an action,” says Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare. “It should... Read more

Women's Refuge has Concerns with Police Statistics

3 April, 2013
The Chief Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges has cautiously welcomed the news that national crime is at a 24 year low. "While I am encouraged to see progress in many areas, including around reducing repeat victimisation, there are still areas of concern," said Ms Henare. "Sexual assaults are up which is disappointing, especially when it is common knowledge that sexual assaults are notoriously under reported. We have no real idea about the extent of... Read more

Peace Celebration at Te Papa on International Women’s Day

04 March 2013
Show the world that Wellington is a Peace city by joining in a walk or attending a Peace Celebration at Te Papa on International Women’s Day Friday, March 8th.This is the second year a group of international women called ‘Wellington Women Walk 4 Peace’ have joined together to organise a march that starts at Parliament and finishes at Civic Square with singing and self defence. “Last year we had nearly 200 women and men on the march,” says organiser Belinda Bonzon-Liu.... Read more

Toyota Prius Cars for Refuge

21 February 2013
Toyota NZ has donated 25 brand new Prius cars on a one year lease to Women’s Refuge in December. “Without good cars women’s refuges would find it very hard to operate. It is our cars that pick up women and children and spirit them away from dangerous situations. It is our cars that take children to medical appointments and mothers to crucial meetings,” says Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare. Although there are more than 25 refuges affiliated to... Read more

Launch of first Women’s Refuge with Animal Shelter in New Zealand

12 Novemeber 2012
A Women’s Refuge safe house with a difference was opened in the Wellington region today. The Porirua refuge Te Whare Tiaki Wahine, with the help of Housing NZ, recently moved to a new six bedroom safe house in the Porirua region and is the first Women’s Refuge to have an animal shelter on site. “A recent research report called Pets as Pawns Pets as Pawns confirmed what we knew about the link between animal abuse and DV with one in three women saying they delayed leaving a... Read more

Women’s Refuge Conference 2012 Different kinds of domestic violence need a different response, argues USA academic

17 October 2012
A keynote speaker for the Women’s Refuge Conference to be held in Blenheim on October 26-27th argues that there are different types of violence within relationships and that these can be differentiated and should be treated differently. Professor Michael P. Johnson is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies and African and African American Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and has been designated an Alumni Teaching Fellow, Penn State’s highest teaching... Read more

Mixed bag for the domestic violence sector in Family Court Review

8 August 2012
One key consideration missing from the recently announced Family Court reforms are any changes to Court processes that will encourage more women to seek safety from violent relationships says Women’s Refuge. “While Women’s Refuge welcomes an increased focus on children, we are disappointed that this has not been carried out in tandem with an increased focus on victims of domestic violence,” says Refuge spokesperson, Kiri Hannifin. “The general rule is when you keep a mother safe,... Read more

Women’s Refuge says we need more Owen Glenn’s in Society

17 July 2012
Women’s Refuge Chief Executive praised the announcement today of Owen Glenn’s commitment to fight domestic violence and child abuse. “We are aware that this funding is targeted at projects in Otara in all kinds of ways to create a better environment for families, with some of the funds going to a local refuge in a project to include work with male perpetrators,” she says. In this, our Annual Appeal week we hope New Zealanders who see a headline $8m for domestic violence,... Read more

Annual Appeal 2012, Your Words Can Work Wonders

16 July 2012
Thanks to social media, we can now share every detail of our lives one post at a time. This freedom to speak our minds, is the subject of a new facebook campaign being launched this July. Sadly, despite this freedom, there are still thousands of New Zealand women being silenced through violence, intimidation and abuse. Their lifeline is the Women’s Refuge Crisis Line – the focus of this years appeal. “We operate a national 0800 REFUGE crisis line that receives one call every... Read more

Statement from NCIWR on Te Roopu Whakaruruhau o Nga Wahine

28 June 2012
The National Collective, which oversees 44 affiliated independent refuges in New Zealand, has been working with Te Roopu Whakaruruhau o Nga Wahine since late 2011 when the auditor concerns became known.“As part of our complaints process we offered support and help to this organization to address the auditors report, however this offer was rejected,” says Women’s Refuge CEO Heather Henare. “We informed our government stakeholders and subsequently interested Ministers. We then... Read more

Nelson Coroners findings

27 April 2012
“Everyone should learn the danger signs of violent relationships and know how to support and assist women when one ends,” says Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare.  Ms Henare’s comments come in response to the release today of a Coroners issue findings into the death of Nicole Barker in Easter 2010 in a murder suicide from her estranged partner Thomas Hiki. “Sadly, the Coroners findings underscore the need for more to be done to raise awareness about... Read more

Pets used as Pawns in Domestic Violence

28 March 2012
                  One in three women surveyed in a recent groundbreaking New Zealand study reported delaying leaving violent relationships because they feared their pets and other animals would be killed or tortured. Of these, one quarter said their children had witnessed violence against animals. ‘Pets as Pawns’ was commissioned by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to... Read more

Father launches book about murdered daughter

12 March 2012
On the morning of 23 September 2009 Helen Meads was murdered by her husband Greg at the stables on their Matamata farm. It was the final chapter in years of control and abuse. The White Ribbon Campaign and Women’s Refuge on the 12 March at 4:30pm will host the launch of David White’s book, Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy at an event at Te Puni Kōkiri, where David will speak alongside Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare and the White Ribbon Committee Chairperson, Brian... Read more

Stolen, a van used to keep women and children safe in Taupo

29 February 2012
 For five years the Te Whare Oranga Wairua Maori Women's Refuge has had a trusty van until last Thursday night.It was stolen from outside their community office and it has not been located by the Refuge or Police. “Wheels are crucial to our work,” says Manager Mahia Henderson Te Tomo . “This van has collected hundreds of women and children from dangerous homes, or to ferry them around to meetings and appointments.  We use our van to deliver children to schools when their mums have to live... Read more

Campaign shows love is not always what it seems

13 January 2012
Those searching for Valentines Day cards today and tomorrow may be in for a shock. Placed among the cards are some with a less than idyllic message inside. The cards, which have a traditional Valentines Day exterior containing a darker message inside, are part of a campaign designed by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi to remind New Zealanders that for some women, love has a very different outcome. The campaign aims to bring domestic abuse into the open and encourages New Zealanders to take a... Read more

The future of good relationships in the hands of the young says Women’s Refuge

24 Jan 2012
It is a 17 year old man who is the spokesperson for Women’s Refuge at the popular Parachute music festival in Hamilton this year. Johny O’Donnell is outspoken about the role young people have in stopping violence. When he was 15 he was one of three Nelson college students who began a movement called SAVE, students against violence everywhere. He will be speaking on Ending Relationship Violence to young people at the popular Parachute Music festival. “Women’s Refuge is... Read more

A busy Christmas and New Year for Women’s Refuge

17 January 2012
For some refuges in New Zealand it has been a record holiday season with high numbers of women and children using services between Dec 23 and January 14th.“Many refuges have had their busiest year in 25 years, or a 100% increase in referrals or calls,” says Chief Executive Heather Henare. “A recent call out to our 45 independent affiliated refuges has shown that it has definitely been a busy season for women seeking help for domestic violence issues over the holiday period. There... Read more

Labour announcement and HNZ issues

15 November, 2011
Women’s Refuge has welcomed the announcement made by Phil Goff and Annette King yesterday to reinstate $700,000 last over the past 18 months within the family violence sector.Labour announced their intention to reinstate the $382,000 Women’s Refuge lost from their baseline funding this year and the $300,000 in lost in contracts for Te Rito family violence coordinators and child advocates. Chief Executive of Women’s Refuges, Ms Henare said “while political support for policies... Read more

Release of Women's Refuge Statistics for the year 2010 to 2011

3 November, 2011
 Women’s Refuge shows a 12% increase Women’s Refuge has announced an 11.6% increase in the number of women and children using their safe house accommodation in the year ending June 2011, in statistics released today.“Every night of our last financial year an average of 230 women and children stayed in one of our 45 refuge safe houses,” says Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare. “This is nearly 12% up on last year. The women and children also needed to stay longer. The average... Read more

Whether we win or lose, please don't take it out on your families!

18 October, 2011
After a brilliant All Black victory on Sunday night Women’s Refuge is putting out a salient reminder asking everyone to act responsibly whatever the outcome of this Sunday's final. “Unfortunately one team will lose. If you win that's great, but if you lose its okay to commiserate but please don’t take it out on your nearest and dearest, be they your partner or kids,” says Women's Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare. So far Women’s Refuge has not noticed a huge spike... Read more

So far so good for Women’s Refuge

13 September 2011
The first major weekend for the Rugby World Cup has proven to be a quiet weekend for Women’s Refuges throughout New Zealand.“It appears that our crisis line calls have been average to quiet,” says Refuge spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin. “It will be a few weeks before our database can show us some trends, but a call out to our 45 affiliated Refuges on Monday shows that it pretty much was business as usual.”Ms Hannifin warns that this could all change as pressure intensifies... Read more

A refuge for families healing from Domestic Violence opens in Hamilton today

8 September, 2011
A 22 year dream to create a purpose built housing unit for families repairing themselves from family violence has come to fruition today. Built by a collaboration of local construction firms and assisted by members of Te Ao Marama Unit of Waikeria prison, today, Te Whakaruruhau Inc which includes two large houses was opened in Hamilton East by Mins Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia in a traditional Maori powhiri attended by 200 people. The goal of providing a space where not only women and... Read more

Are things getting better or worse for New Zealand Women Children and Families

6 September 2011
Women’s Refuge is to explore whether things are getting better or worse for New Zealand's women, children and families when it hosts a 'State of the Nation Summit' on 28 September at Circa Theatre in Wellington. "We have asked a number of experts to come and share their expertise and experience on how it is in New Zealand right now for our women and children - especially our most vulnerable," says Heather Henare, Women’s Refuge Chief Executive. "If you are interested... Read more

Knitting – it’s not just for nanas anymore

1 September 2011
The last person you would expect to see chatting away in a knitting circle is a male prisoner. But in New Plymouth Prison a small group of men are challenging that perception.The seven prisoners have been knitting blanket squares, beanies and are now moving on to slippers as part of a weekly knitting workshop run by Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society volunteers.Some of the men have really shown their dedication by knitting away in their cells for hours in the evening. This morning the knitted... Read more

Maori women put up with violence in Christchurch

20 July 2011
Staff at the Otautahi Women’s Refuge in Christchurch say many Maori women are putting up with domestic violence while they struggle to cope with other stresses in their lives. Otautahi is the only Women’s Refuge in the South Island dedicated to Maori women. Its manager Kumeroa Johnston says, like other refuges in Christchurch, Otautahi has seen a steady flow of women using its services since the earthquakes started last September. “But we also know there are many wahine... Read more

206 Women and Children use Refuge Beds Each Night

21 April 2011
Every night, throughout New Zealand, 206 women and children need to spend a night in a Women’s Refuge safe house.“Last year we had 75,000 bednights used by women and children who sadly, felt unsafe to stay in their own beds,” says the Chief Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges Ms Heather Henare. “This amounts to 30 more people per night compared to 2009 statistics and shows an 8% increase in families using our safe house services.”... Read more

Women's Refuge Thanks Donors for Quake Help

12 April 2011
From companies providing food and supplies through to a huge $98,000 from BNZ staff nationwide, the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges (NCIWR) thanks all donors who gave generously to Women’s Refuges impacted by the February quake.“We knew pretty quickly that our refuges in Christchurch had big problems which ranged from damaged vehicles; no phones, food, cash or fuel; to safe house damage,” says Women’s Refuge CEO Heather Henare.The NCIWR has four member refuges based in... Read more

11 Years No Justice for the Life of a Woman Says Refuge

01 April 2011
The Hamilton High Court today handed down a sentence of 11 years non-parole to Gregory Meads for the brutal murder of his wife Helen Meads.Mrs Meads had just made the decision to leave Mr Meads after an extended period of abuse. The decision to leave is one of the most dangerous times for women leaving violent relationships, says Heather Henare, Women's Refuge Chief Executive."We see time and time again already violent men escalate their violent behaviour when they discover their partner has... Read more

Domestic Violence Remains High

01 April 2011
“One third of people killed in New Zealand last year were killed by people within their families,” says Heather Henare, Chief Executive of Women's Refuge.Police statistics released today state that 25 of the 72 homicides in New Zealand are attributable to family violence. The report also shows that the majority of perpetrators of murders in New Zealand are men.Police report 65,000 family violence related calls over the report's period, and express concern that around 80% of all family... Read more

Women's Refuge Sends Trauma Support Team to Christchurch

23 February 2011
Women’s Refuge is saddened by the devastation that has happened as a result of yesterday’s earthquake. While we are all shocked by the loss of life, Women’s Refuge CEO Heather Henare asks families to be extra careful in the way they deal with stress and relationships following the quake. “In the week following the September quake, there was a 53% increase in domestic violence incidents reported to the police and in the 30 days after, Refuge statistics increased by 30%,”... Read more

Women's Refuge Supports the Launch of Hidden in Front of Us

28 August 2010
Women's Refuge Chief Executive, Heather Henare, was thrilled to attend the launch of the book Hidden in Front of Us this week at Parliament. The book, written by Anthea Simcock and Lee-Anne Duncan, outlines the experience of twenty-four adult survivors of child abuse. "Child abuse is very difficult to talk about which is why this book is so important. The book openly discusses child abuse and provides a way for all New Zealanders to get information about this enormous problem." "The... Read more

Latest News

Latest news

Press Release from Women's Refuge to support release of Family Violence – It's Not OK, asking for help is from The Warehouse Group

15 September, 2015
Women’s Refuge warmly welcomes today’s announcement and congratulates The Warehouse Group for being the largest New Zealand employer so far to develop comprehensive human resources policy around domestic and family violence. “To our knowledge there are only smaller operators and non-government agencies who have developed any kind of policy around domestic violence. This initiative from The Warehouse Group will not only enhance their reputation as a great employer but, critically,... Read more

The Warehouse Group launches new workplace support to reduce family violence

15 September 2015
The country’s largest retailer, The Warehouse Group, has launched a new initiative to support victims of family violence and encourage those affected by family violence to seek help. The ‘Family violence – it’s not ok’ initiative will apply to all the companies in the Group, including The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, Torpedo 7 and the company’s online retailers. The initiative is available now and provides for up to 10 days paid leave... Read more

Women's Refuge response to discussion paper: Strengthening New Zealand’s legislative response to family violence

6 August 2015
“The discussion document that Hon Amy Adams has proposed covers off the key issues that we would have expected to be highlighted,” says Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge Dr Ang Jury. “The Minister, through the consultation document, has set out concerns that Women’s Refuge has been raising for several years now. These include the unique attributes of domestic violence offending, including the recognition of patterns of coercive nature involved in domestic violence,... Read more

Women’s Refuge welcomes Government Family and Sexual Violence Work Programme

30 July 2015
The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges welcomes the announcement of the government family and sexual violence work programme. “I am excited to see this commitment to action from the government and look forward to working alongside government to realise the outcomes identified,” says Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury. “Women’s Refuge agrees that a 'planned' response to the issue of violence within families is preferable to the current system... Read more

Women’s Refuge and The Warehouse raise funds for youth development programme

28 July 2015
Lens cloths sold over the counters at The Warehouse will help to make a huge contribution to the Women’s Refuge this year. During the first three weeks of June, The Warehouse sold lens cleaning cloths to raise funds towards the Women’s Refuge Shero youth development programme. More than $130,000 in proceeds from the sales will help Women’s Refuge contribute to its prevention work with young people around ways to help them learn about the warning signs of unhealthy relationships... Read more
2015 News | 2014 News | 2013 News | 2012 News | 2011 News | 2010 News Women's Refuge Statement about Julian Savea and NZRU Women’s Refuge is disappointed the New Zealand Rugby Union allowed Julian Savea to play over the weekend despite being charged with assault last week. “Domestic violence is a serious crime and one of the biggest social problems in New Zealand. When an All Black has been charged with a domestic... Read more