About Us

We believe that all women and children deserve to live a life free of domestic violence and abuse.  Our crisis service operates 24/7 to provide safe housing, advice and community based support for you, as and when you need it. Our top priority is ensuring that you and your children's safety is met at a time when you feel most vulnerable.  

We provide you with the tools, knowledge and support you need to find strength and grow in a safe and caring environment.  Ensuring your wellbeing and safeguarding your children's future is our passion and we want to help you make a change for the better so that you can take the steps you need to take toward a life that you deserve.  A life that is free of fear and without the threat of domestic violence.


To ensure the family/whanau are resilient, intact and thriving.


To deliver the highest quality services aimed at supporting whanau in living safe, secure and violence free lifestyles.


We utilise the principles of healing the whole being. The body(tinana), mind(hinengaro) and spirit(wairua).Working together to create, respectful and nurturing environments for all our communities.

Te Whakaruruhau's values, beliefs and vision are embodied in their logo. The marae in the logo metaphorically represents a model of wellbeing and interaction; of stability; growth and healing. The whare represents the womb, the sacred house of the people (Te Whare Tangata), where future generations are born and protected for the continuation of whakapapa. The kaitiaki (guardians) are characterised by refuge Advocates who protect, mentor, and nurture Maori whanau. As shown, the guardians of the whare are armed with tewhatewha and kotiate (as illustrated in our logo above). These traditional weapons represent the strategies, knowledge and skills that Te Whakaruruhau Advocates use to confront barriers and negotiate pathways towards safety and wellbeing (whanau-ora) for Maori whanau. The hau surrounding the whare symbolises the multifaceted situational forces that can impede or enhance the achievement of safety.

Our Beliefs 

Women have a unique place within our society and by protecting and honouring this right we are encouraging women to feel empowered, to gain integrity and to possess the inner strength they need to develop to their fullest potential and flourish within a supportive community.

Children hold a divine and precious role within society and their wellbeing and future success must be the obligation and aspiration of all.  We strive to protect, guide, nurture, nourish and inspire the future generations to feel free to be heard, to have a voice, and to  know love within a healthy-supportive relationship.  We want children to experience the love, safety and support of a healthy family dynamic so that they might grow to become role models for their future children and their children's children. 


Our History

Te Whakaruruhau Maori Women's Refuge first opened in 1986 through the efforts of a group of local Maori 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 Whakakruruhau safe housing has grown from a one bedroom flat into four safe houses across Hamilton City.

In 27 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.


Ruahine Albert, of Hamilton, received the Queen's Service Medal, for services to Maori and the community. Ms Albert is one of the two founders of New Zealand's first Maori Women's Refuge, Te Whakaruruhau, which opened in Hamilton in 1987, and is the service manager.  Find out more

Ariana Simpson, of Hamilton, received the Queen's Service Medal, for services to Maori and the community. Ms Simpson has more than 23 years' experience working with the Women's Refuge movement regionally and nationally. Find out more