Tairawhiti Community Law Centre - Gisborne NZ

Tairawhiti Community Law Centre

From Thursday 26 March the Tairawhiti Community Law Centre Gisborne and Wairoa Offices will be closed until further notice due to the Covid-19 Virus alert level 4 being introduced by the New Zealand Government.

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Family Violence during COVID-19 Lockdown

“New Zealand is currently under Coronavirus Lockdown Level 4. News from overseas such as the United States, China and Australia have indicated that family harm tends to rise during lockdowns. Police, Oranga Tamariki and family violence support groups (such as Women’s Refuge and Shine) are warning people to be aware of such rise and seek help if necessary.

Police say responding to family harm is a priority. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police would increase their response to family harm during this period. He also recommends that people should call 111 if they hear something concerning in their neighbourhood.

To help people to keep themselves and their family safe, we have provided the following information on family harm for your read. In an emergency, CALL 111.”


Family Violence

You may have noticed that domestic violence is now referred to as family violence. That is because the Domestic Violence Act was repealed on 1 July 2019 by the Family Violence Act. The change is intent to allow for a more integrated response to such violence.

This article will look at Police Safety Orders and Protection Orders, both designed to help reduce family violence incidents and provide certain protection to victims and their families.

First and foremost, we look at the definition of Family Violence:

According to the Family Violence Act 2018:

family violence, in relation to a person, means violence inflicted —


  1. Against a person (the victim) by another person (the perpetrator) who is or has been in a family relationship with that person. Family relationship is defined as that between the victim and perpetrator as spouses or partners, sharing household (e.g. a housemate) or in a personal relationship (e.g. a boyfriend or girlfriend).
  2. Violence includes any form of physical (e.g. assault), sexual (e.g.  forced sexual activities) or psychological (e.g. intimation) abuse.


I. Police Safety Order

To protect victims and their families from family violence, the Police can issue a Police Safety Order (PSO). Having a PSO in place gives the victim time to make decisions about their ongoing safety and to access legal support.

A PSO primarily involves the perpetrator being ordered by the Police to immediately leave home or the property and stay away for up to 10 days even if the perpetrator has a legal or equitable interest in the land or building. In addition, the perpetrator is prohibited from contacting, following, stopping, assaulting, threatening, intimidating or harassing the victim and their family. The perpetrator is also required to surrender all firearms and firearms licence to the police while the order is in force.

During this period, the perpetrator’s rights to care for or contact with the children under a parenting order or agreement are also suspended.

There is no right of appeal against a PSO though under appropriate circumstances if any, the perpetrator can file a complaint against the Police with the Independent Police Conduct Authority.


1. The Protected Person

The PSO takes effect once the bound person has been served. The PSO remains active for the period stated in the order even if the bound person breaches the order with the protected person’s consent. The protected person should keep a copy of the PSO with them all the time. If they feel threatened or unsafe, they can call 111 for help stating they have a PSO in place. The protected person may apply to the Family Court for a Protection Order before the PSO ends.


2. The Bound Person

The bound person must comply with the conditions of the PSO. If the bound person breaches the PSO they can be taken into custody by the Police and brought before the Court. The Court can extend the PSO if it has not expired or issue a new one if it has expired. The Court can also consider issuing a temporary protection order. If the bound person commits any offence while breaching the PSO, the Police can bring charges against them.


II. Protection Order 

You can apply for a Protection Order if you are in or have been in, a close personal relationship with the person being violent towards you.

If you are not in a family/close personal relationship with the person who is being violent towards you, you can apply for a Restraining Order instead of a Protection Order.


1. Applying for a Protection Order

A lawyer can help you apply for a Protection Order. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to get legal aid. You are not required to pay back legal aid for a Protection Order.


2. Urgent need for a Protection Order

The Court can issue a Temporary Protection Order if you need urgent protection, usually on the same day you apply. Because of its urgency, the order is made ‘without notice’ – that is, with violent person not being made aware of it before it is put in place and served on them.

A Temporary Protection Order lasts for three months. If the violent person does not contest it within that period, the order automatically becomes final. Then any change in the order or its discharge will have to be applied through the Court.


3. If the Need is not Urgent

If your application is not urgent, the violent person is served with your application and will have the opportunity to defend themselves in Court. Whether the judge will grant the Protection Order is made after the judge has heard both sides and has considered all evidence before the Court.


4. Breaching a Protection Order

Police can arrest without warrant a person who has breached a Protection Order. Breaching a Protection Order is a criminal offence. Where there is evidence that a breach of a Protection Order has occurred, the Police cannot release the person on bail for 24 hours immediately after the arrest unless they can be brought before Court. When the Court considers bail applications it will give the highest priority to the victim’s safety.

The maximum penalty for breaching a Protection Order is three years in prison and if other serious violent crimes are involved even more serious penalties can be imposed.


For more information on Police Safety Orders and Protection Orders, please visit the sites listed below:








COVID-19 and Family Harm Info





Deaths, Funerals and Tangihanga during COVID-19 Lockdown


We are living in unprecedented times, with the lockdown in place for at least a month there is a lot up in the air about what will happen next.  One area of concern is what happens when someone in your family dies during the lockdown.


During this period of lockdown and social distancing, the Ministry of Health has released strict guidelines around what can and cannot happen for funerals and tangihanga.  Funeral directors have been classified as essential services and registered funeral directors will continue to offer their services during the lockdown.


There is a very strict limit on people who can attend a viewing, a funeral or cremation.  The Ministry of Health has advised that whanau and friends who shared an isolation bubble with the deceased can attend these events but those in separate bubbles cannot, even if they were a close relation of the deceased.  For whanau and friends who can attend, you must first talk to the funeral director to ensure that the number of people intending to attend can be accommodated for. 


While at a viewing, funeral, or cremation, social distancing rules still apply in relation to funeral home staff.  If the group from your bubble is too large for the facility, you may be split into separate groups in order to facilitate social distancing rules.  Although the risk of transmission from the deceased is low, no physical contact is allowed unless there are specific religious rituals which need to be followed.  An example of this is the strict rules around the handling of the deceased in Islam.  For such requirements, funeral directors can identify members of the community who can prepare the deceased correctly.  However, this must be done under the strict supervision of an embalmer and with the required personal protective equipment. 


It is encouraged that burials and cremations are carried out as quickly as possible, however for many the lack of a proper send-off can cause significant trauma.  There are some alternatives available:


  • Ask if the funeral home can hold the deceased until the end of the lockdown for a proper service – note that at this stage it is uncertain when the lockdown will end.
  • Immediate cremation, and then burial of the ashes at a later stage with a memorial.
  • Using technology such as taking videos and live streaming to share the service.


Te Rōpu Whakakaupapa Urutā, the National Maori Pandemic Group has similar advice with regards to tangihanga and has even urged whanau to opt for closed coffin services for COVID-19 deaths to minimise the risk of transmission. 







Gillian Creach

General Manager

Tairawhiti Community Law Centre

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Gisborne Office:

Open weekdays 9am to 4:00pm
Free phone advice between 2pm & 4pm weekdays

85 Lowe Street, Gisborne

PO Box 1053 Gisborne 4040
Ph: (06) 868 3392  /   Fax: (06) 868 3394  /  0800 452 956
Email: info@tairawhiticlc.co.nz


Wairoa Office

Paul Street, Wairoa
Open weekdays 9am to 4:00pm

Free phone advice details
Notary Service available Gisborne Office only - by appointment



Gisborne Chamber of Commerce Member 20067

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“ We are a Charitable Trust governed by a Board of Trustees. We provide free legal information and education to all and free legal advice, assistance, representation to people who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer or who do not qualify for legal aid. Our geographical catchment area runs from Potaka to Gisborne to Wairoa.” ( We gratefully accept koha and donations )

We are affiliated to a National Organisation Community Law Centres O Aotearoa or CLCA

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Notary Services from our Gisborne Office (by arrangement).

Tairawhiti Community Law Centre have a named endowment fund with Sunrise Foundation that people can donate to. 

Gillian Creach
General Manager
Mobile: 022 1033779
E-mail: gillian@tairawhiticlc.co.nz

Louis Leung
LLB; MSc; Notary Public;
Senior/Supervising Lawyer


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Outreach Clinics are held:

In Wairoa at the Paul Street Office
Every 2nd Wednesday of each month
Appointment made through Wairoa Office

In Ruatoria - Ruatoria Clinics are now held at the Hati Ngati Café (private room) from 10-12pm appointments made through Gisborne Office

In Tokomaru Bay and Tolaga Bay 
Every 3rd Wednesday of each month (if required)
Appointments made through Gisborne Office

A warm welcome awaits you from Gillian, and the whole Tairawhiti Community Law Centre team...

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Our Board of Trustees:

Ruth Quilter - Chairperson

Royce Maynard Treasurer / Lynette Stankovich - Secretary

Marama Mataio Practising Lawyer

Doris Aspinall East Coast Representative

Karen Pewhairangi Gisborne Representative

Reremoana Houkamau Wairoa Representative

Hine Kohn Pakeke


Tairawhiti Community Law Centre: 85 Lowe St., Gisborne. New Zealand



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