Waikato Women's Refuge - Te Whakaruruhau

Waikato Women's Refuge - Te Whakaruruhau

Waikato Women's Refuge provides 24/7 crisis, community & residential support to wāhine, tamariki and whānau impacted by domestic violence.


Te Whakaruruhau Māori Women’s Refuge first opened in 1986 through the efforts of a group of local Māori women, to save lives and reduce the harm caused by domestic violence.

In those early years, the service provided a 24 hour crisis response team and safe housing. Te Whakaruruhau safe housing has grown from a one bedroom flat into four safe houses across Hamilton City.

In 30 years, our service has transformed into one which involves the whole family. We believe that working with the whole family is a way of creating long-term change with domestic violence. This is why, where possible, we work with men who are committed to change, as well as your extended family if you want us to.

The vision of Te Whakaruruhau was first created and has been vigorously maintained by two strong, passionate and committed Māori women - Ariana Simpson and Ruahine Albert. These two women have worked tirelessly over the years to bring about an awareness of the issues for Māori women living with violence. They have fought hard to provide a local and national response to domestic violence in Māori whānau. They continue to challenge a system that refuses to hold perpetrators accountable for their behaviours and abusive actions towards their families.

Ruahine and Ariana, along with many others, have been relentless in their efforts to transform New Zealand's legal and social systems to respond proactively to victims of domestic violence.

Crisis Response

We have a 24/7 crisis service and, at your call, our experienced staff will come and see you where and when you need them. They will work with you to decide what support you need - from advice through to full residential care in one of our safe houses. Our services are personalised to fit your needs, because only you know what will work best for you and your children.

Community Outreach

Our community team will visit you in your home or any other place you choose, and help you with any problems you have. They will give you support and be your advocate in your contacts with agencies such as Work and Income, Housing New Zealand or Child, Youth and Family; ensure you get any medical care you or your children need; stay with you if you visit a lawyer; help you get food, clothing or furniture for your family; help you leave town or simply provide you with some advice about what to do next.

Residential Services

If you have to leave your home, we have safe houses where you can be sure you and your children can stay with complete security. We have skilled and qualified staff who provide a non-judgmental, caring and supportive environment. You may be with us only one or two nights until your family can help you, or you may be with us longer-term until you feel you can cope on your own. While you are staying with us, there are a range of educational programmes you can undertake to help you and your children get back on your feet. Your children are also taken care of; they can go to school or attend early childhood education.


- Family Violence can occur in any home regardless of culture, ethnicity and origin.

- That violence in any shape or form is totally unacceptable.

You can help your local Refuge by:

- Donating goods or funds

- Making the service we offer known

More about us

Waikato Women's Refuge - Te Whakaruruhau provides 24/7 crisis, community and residential support to wāhine, tamariki and whānau impacted by domestic violence in the Waikato region.

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Latest update

Update for 15/11/2014  15 November 2014

Te Whakaruruhau Women's Refuge is the organisation that turns up day in and day out to rescue women and children from hostile situations - and now the organisation needs the community's help. The refuge has been given a large house, from Braemar Hospital, consisting of 10 rooms, two living areas, two dining areas and three bathrooms. The challenge is they have to move it to a new location and renovate it by Christmas to house families in need. Currently there are five safe houses in Hamilton that shield families from violence. The new edition will mean the refuge, which is already at full capacity, will be able to handle the referrals that are coming in from outside of Waikato. The manager of Te Whakaruruhau Women's Refuge, Ruahine Albert, said the challenge for the refuge is to get at least $250,000 worth of support in the form of labour, building supplies and donations for the de-construction and relocation of the house which must be completed by Christmas. ""This home will be a safe house for our most vulnerable women and children in crisis from 2015 onwards . It will provide an additional facility for not only safe housing but will be a place [for] children's programmes."" Albert said they needed a lot of help from building experts. ""We humbly seek any form of assistance to join us in this challenge. Our Kaumatua have named this home - Te Rau Aroha - a challenge of love,"" she said. The house used to be the Salvation Army Nest residence and was recently relinquished to the hospital which purchased the site in 2005. Initial plans were to bulldoze the house and utilise the land, but Braemar Hospital CEO Paul Bennett said the house needed to go to an organisation that does good in the community. ""We just thought that would be a waste and there are organisations out there that could make use of it and the women's refuge put their hands up."" PB Property Business Ltd manager Paul Barnett has donated his time to project manage the relocation of the home. ""I am determined to see this project through for the amazing people at Te Whakaruruhau refuge and for our country's women and children,"" Barnett said. ""I request the assistance of the building and construction industry to join me in the spirit of giving, to achieve the ultimate goal of having the house nestled on new foundations and re-constructed to watertight by Christmas."" Previously the donated house was the family home at the Salvation Army's The Nest site and is currently residing in Ohaupo Road Hamilton. Te Whakaruruhau women's refuge provides a range of services including emergency shelter and safe-housing of women and children in crisis in the Waikato region. Its services have been under increasingly severe pressure over the past twelve months. Safe houses are at full capacity. Each month Te Whakaruruhau Women's Refuge assists between 500 and 700 women and children in need.

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