Supports systems for suicide

By Aroha Treacher

Rotorua will take centre stage this week for indigenous suicide prevention. More than 450 indigenous peoples from here and across the globe will be attending the three-day World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference.

Nearly 10 years ago, brother and sister Cairo and Taiann Smith lost their dad. His death was self-inflicted.

“At the start it was really hard because we were really young and my Mum turned into an alcoholic and then we started going to church and they really helped us,” says Taiann Smith.

“It took me a while to accept it probably about 5 or 6 years to accept and this had made me become a better person because I can accept it now and I thank God for helping me through it,” says Cairo Smith.

They're part of a group of youth from Te Taitimu Trust heading to the inaugural World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference in Rotorua.

Cairo says, “The main goal for me is to basically get knowledge from this hui where I can learn and help people in my community that are dealing with suicide.”

“I'm not going up there, we're not going up there, just for a talk fest, we want to see action out of this kaupapa,” says Zack Makoare from Te Tai Timu Trust.

The conference will be a safe forum for those affected by suicide from Australia, Canada, and the USA to find solutions.

Makoare says, “It makes me sad because we've taken a long time to get to an end point I mean too often we research things for a long time, there needs to be action and I think this is a positive move towards that action.”

The conference will coincide with the indigenous youth summit, and is a chance to network and support each other for positive change.

If you are concerned about someone who may need help, contact Lifeline 0800 543534 or the Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 TAUTOKO.