31 Aug 2018

Teenage twins take stage against domestic violence

From Checkpoint, 5:55 pm on 31 August 2018

A pair of Christchurch twins are hoping their music can help stop domestic violence in New Zealand.

Tanemahuta and Teakaraupo Pakeha-Heke witnessed horrific domestic violence as children.

The twins started singing as soon as they were old enough to talk.

Now 13 years old, they have performed their songs and stories at marae, festivals and for an audience of hundreds at the recent justice summit in Porirua.

The boys, who go to Rāwhiti School, are finalists for an award at the Canterbury Youth Awards tonight in Christchurch.

"My mum was a victim of domestic violence ... my dad was a violent person," Tanemahuta said.

"It was scary going through all of that stuff being under the age of six."

Their mum had since passed away.

But a particularly horrific incident the twins witnessed when they were eight years old made them realise they were not alone.

"My dad had another girlfriend, and my dad's girlfriend had a son ... they had a ... big fight and we didn't want to leave her son there," Tanemahuta said.

"We felt really scared for him and we couldn't get help ... that was when it started changing us and we knew that other people were going through it as well."

Committing their story to song, the twins started performing to family, then at local festivals.

Twin Harmony - their stage name - are working with a vocal coach to release an EP.

When they leave school, both want to enter the music industry.

But they said their end goal was simple - "No more violence in our Whānau."