Wikiwira Pokiha is hoping to be able to use her past experiences as a way of encouraging other young women in difficult situations. The 24-year-old has already overcome significant personal tragedy and hardship, and knows it takes great courage and the support of others to carry on.
Wikiwira was a victim of domestic violence in her first relationship, and knows it is not easy to leave such an environment. Although many people close to her offered her help, she had to make the conscious decision to leave on her own. She says the psychological damage is long lasting, and still has an impact on her today.
“I found it hard to let go of the relationship because my partner always made me feel so reliant on him for money, security and love,” she says. “I am now finding ways to deal with the habits and thoughts I developed throughout that negative relationship and work towards a healthier relationship with my new partner. I feel like it’s how we deal with our demons that makes us who we are today.”
Wikiwira has a 4-year-old daughter, Waikura. Her son Tumoko was stillborn in 2012, which was the most difficult experience she has had to endure:. She continues to deal with the loss and grief every day, but credits her family and friends for the strong support they offered to her at the time, and continue to provide. Her message to others is to ensure you seek support.
“My family and friends were a huge help to keep me on track and help me through the break up and the grief of losing my son. Keeping family and good friends around you will help you to heal and find your place in the world again. Take each day at a time.”
Wikiwira knows these experiences will stay with her for the rest of her life, but she has worked hard to overcome them and now is focussed on Waikura, taking inspiration from her daughter.
“After losing my son, Waikura was my reason to live. She needed me because she was so young and she gave me a reason to be strong and continue to look forward to the future.”
Pokiha is currently working as a health promoter at Population Health, Waikato District Health Board. She hopes that by sharing her experiences with other young women, she can help them on the path to a bright future.
If you or someone you know is in need of relationship or family help, please contact these services:
- Women’s Refuge: 0800 733 843
- Barnardos Hamilton: (07) 847 1088
- Reclaim Another Woman (RAW) Domestic Violence Support: 07 282 0813