Flags were flown half-mast at Korokota Marae signalling the sorrow over the death of Patricia Ann McGrath who fell victim to domestic violence. Her brother John McGrath says the family is in shock and dismay but wanted to send the message to rest of the hapū and iwi over the importance of not tolerating domestic violence in any form and encouraging people to act before it’s too late.
While details around the incident continue to unravel, the family says they hold no malice toward Phillip Māhanga; the man accused of assaulting her. While her brother says the majority of the family did not approve of him, the final choice and decision always lay with his sister who chose to stay.
An uncle of 'Woowoo', Hori Tuhiwai says due to the whānau disapproving of her partner, she distanced herself from her family around 14 months ago and many of her family had never even met the man.
The hundreds who gathered to pay their respects were given a white ribbon, the symbol of the global campaign against domestic violence. Family members say they wanted to get the message out to anyone they could about the importance of not tolerating violence toward anyone in the home, whether it be a man, woman or child.
Patricia had worked as a case worker for Work and Income for over 5 years and has been described by those that knew her as a sociable person, one of her aunties Druis Kapu-Barrett described her as a strong hearted woman that would never hurt anyone.
Patricia was survived by her two children who are now with their father and police say it’s likely more serious charges will be laid against Phillip Mahanga who is currently in police custody.
Reporter: Aroha Treacher.