Topics: Health, Native Affairs

Native Affairs – The mamae of suicide

By Native Affairs

Let’s kōrero about suicide, a whānau opens up about their grief.

579 kiwis took their own lives in the year to June 2016. The Chief Coroner says the toll is unacceptable we need more discussion.

So, a Bay of Plenty family is speaking up about the grief they feel over the loss of their 13-year old girl in February, Rakaua Rangiahua. They spoke openly about what happened in the hope they could prevent others from doing the same.

Rakaua was living with her dad Wayne Rangiahua in Opotiki.

“I had a feeling but I thought I’d see her at the end of the day.  I thought I’d sort it then, see what was troubling her,” says Rangiahua. “But I was too late.  I went to work and come back and she was already gone, yeah.”

Rakaua’s death is still before the Coroner and can’t be called suicide until the Coroner makes a ruling.  The method of her death can’t be reported.

Recently, Rakaua’s grandmother Kirituia Tumarae found the girl’s writings and drawings she’d made while she was on holiday with her.

She says, “I think I was more disappointed with myself that I wasn’t able to read between the lines.  Why didn’t I find those papers sooner, while she was still alive?”

At Rakaua’s tangihanga, Tumarae spoke to the girl’s friends pleading with them.

“So I said to them I know you fellas are friends but please, don’t do what she did.  It’s heartbreaking for your friends, for your families.  Live for her. Live for you.”

Both Wayne and Kirituia agree with the Chief Coroner suicide needs more discussion.

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