Yes! It’s that time of year again!  For the last three years, The Aunties have done Xmas for the refuge. We’ve  given 200 kids presents, we have provided 75 women (and the refuge staff) with luxury gift baskets, and  run ourselves ragged in the spirit of joy and giving.

So this year, we are going even bigger. What can you do to help? Simple! There are two very easy ways of making Xmas special for a whole lot of people.

You can contribute by:

1) buying. a present (or 2 or 3) for a child. A boy, a girl, or nonbinary. Age ranges 0-3, 4-6, 7-10. You can wrap them or leave them unwrapped and send to:

The Aunties, PO Box 76638, Manukau, Auckland 2241

From there, we will match the Xmas list of kids who need presents with the presents received, and done!

Extra presents will be given to another refuge that I am building a relationship with, and also used for birthday presents for kids in both refuges throughout the year.

I need about 200 present to fulfill the Xmas needs so start shopping. And know that for all of these kids, it may well be the only presents they receive this year, so you are a very important person in their lives.


2)  you can contribute money to our Givealittle. Money donated over Xmas will be used to buy supplies for at least 25 gift baskets for women in the refuge community that we support, staff gift baskets, and for wrapping paper to wrap those gifts that come unwrapped. It is also likely that we will be buying Pak N Save gift vouchers for the women who will be staying in the house over Xmas.

So there you go. It’s all very simple, and so doable. The way we are doing it has changed, and the numbers we are doing it for have grown but the kindness of strangers remains a constant. And for that we are so very grateful to you.

Thank you.

Jackie Clark, Aunty In Charge.



Unheard of

I’ve told my story of living with domestic violence. I’ve heard the stories of countless women who have lived, and are living, with domestic violence.

It feels taboo even to talk about it. You feel sick and fearful as you eke the words out of your mouth. Will you be believed? Will the person listening think less of you? As little as you think of yourself? Dummy/stupid/weak/pathetic/loser for putting up with it. Living with it. Why didn’t I see? Why didn’t I leave? Why didn’t you leave? Think of the kids.

People who talk about their experiences in this regard are often not heard, and we don’t really want them to speak. Bold statement. This shit is uncomfortable.

And its because it’s uncomfortable that we have to listen.

In my experience, we think of IPV or DV as brutal. Physical. Cowering woman in corner trying to avoid the blows. And so that can be triggering for many people. Deeply uncomfortable, disturbing. If women go into a refuge, they’re safe. We would like to believe that. If we or they talk about what’s happened to them, that’s dangerous, unsafe.

Dont talk about it.

And yet, the inverse is true.

Being in a refuge may make you physically safe for the period you’re there. But there will be texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, yourself, the kids, your family to contend with. It’s lonely. And the more you speak of what’s happened to you, the more people know, the less lonely you feel. The more agency you have. The more power you take back.

The physical stuff is dramatic, it captures attention. But it’s not the stuff that’s most damaging. The verbal, psychological, emotional control mechanisms are what wear you down and keep you there. They are exhausting, and you can’t muster the energy to explain that nor banish the fear to speak of it.

So when you do, you deserve to be heard. We are required to listen. To hear. To act. To not turn away. That’s what’s dangerous. That’s what’s unsafe.


What The Aunties Did – September 2016

What the Aunties Did – September 2016

Over the last four weeks, this is what the Aunties have done with everyone’s donations of money and stuff…

We paid for a person to have counselling, and also spent $550 to fix a car that was vital for getting kids to school on the other side of the city from the safe place they are staying right now.

We paid the power and the phone bill for one of the women who is no longer in refuge and was in dire straits after having her benefit cut. Those kinds of pressures can sometimes lead to worse events so we felt it was right to step in and provide relief for her.

We also spent almost $1000 on food, and bought First Aid Kits for two refuges. And we’ve worked on building up our stockpile of kids’ clothes, sheets and towels, and socks; sourced some makeup for a teenager just arrived at refuge; and bought some hairbrushes.

When Aunty Jackie visits the refuge each week to chat with the women and find out what they need, she takes food with her to share. KFC is pretty popular. They’ve asked Aunty Jackie to let us all know how thankful they are that we’re out here doing this stuff, and that knowing people are thinking of them makes it all a bit a less lonely.

And October 1st was the annual “Pamper Day” for single mothers – they had make-up and nails done, and shoulder massages from volunteers. This is something Kris, who runs the refuge, organises once a year for women who have been in the refuge (and some who haven’t) while their kids are taken to Chipmunks for the day.

That’s a pretty nice list of “needs” and “wants” met for September by the Aunties. As always, we need to replenish funds so we can do more in October so PLEASE SHARE THIS with whanau and friends. Here’s the link for donations: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/kapawhaea/donations
Nga mihi nui,
The Aunties.

Dear Minister – a guest post by MB

Dear Minister,

I want to tell you about my little boy, he’s 4, he’s gorgeous, and he has Autism.

He currently attends a local Free Kindergarten, he has an Education Support Worker for 6 hours a week. I am told this is the maximum time allowed for him.

His support team include, his family, kindy teachers, his ESW, a Speech Therapist and Special Ed teacher. They all work incredibly hard with him and for him.

Minister, do you know how the process works? Let me give you a brief outline of what happens, and how his IEP is set.

1 A meeting is set with his Special Ed teacher
2 Together we go through our day, hour by hour, I have to describe our routine, from waking up, to going to bed.
3 Then I have to prioritize the things that my son struggles with the most, and the things that I struggle with.
4 Then we figure out which of those things transfer to kindy, this is when we set the IEP.

As you would expect, with a hard working support team my son has made good progress. I have been assured he will continue to make progress. I have also been assured that his Autism will never go away, he will never be Neuro Typical.

I have been told that when my son turns 5 and starts school, there will be little/no chance of support for him at school. I have also been told that his ESW is not allowed to help with his transition to school.

Minister, I want you to imagine something for me, lets pretend you broke your leg, you had a cast for 6 weeks, after that time your cast comes off and your DR says to you “Walk Minister” now imagine that you don’t feel comfortable walking unsupported, you would like some physio or perhaps a walking stick, that you could use for a short time, until you could walk unsupported.

You can see where I’m going with this Minister. Thanks to YOU, my son when he turns 5, will be left in a new environment with no support. Because he is Included in the classroom, YOU believe he has no other need.

Minister, he has a need, do you know what Autism is? He struggles to build social relationships, he struggles to voice his opinion. He doesn’t learn the way a Neuro typical child does. YOU believe this is ok, he’s included, but not supported.

Minister, how is his teacher supported? He/she will need to assess my sons knowledge. This will take time, as the guidelines YOU have in place are not suited to him. Minister, how are the other children supported? Maybe there will be other kids with Autism or a learning difference in my sons class, YOU believe this is good, they are included, not supported.

The school will try to help, Maybe my son will be put together with other kids into a remedial group? Making children who struggle socially work together in a Neuro Typical way. – Included, but not supported.

Minister, I suggest you look at giving these kids a fair chance at a decent education. Increasing support for new entrants and teachers is a way to go, building on the ECE support, and giving kids a good start to school is only going to help right?