Launch of ‘Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy’

David White

David White (photo thanks to Ken Downie)

David White

David’s daughter, Helen Meads, was killed by her husband in their Matamata family home in September 2009. Helen was the victim of years of abuse and violence from her husband.

Having seen what Helen experienced, David agreed to become an White Ribbon Ambassador in 2011 and has now written a book, ‘Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy’.

If you would like to come to the book launch hosted by White Ribbon and Women’s Refuge on 12 March at Te Puni Kōkiri in Wellington starting at 4:30pm, please email

This is a fantastic opportunity to hear David speak and listen to a panel discussion with David and Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare, and the White Ribbon Committee Chairperson Brian Gardner from the National Network of Stopping Violence Services. Please note spaces are limited.

If you have a question you would like David or the other members of the panel to answer, please use this email link and we will put the question to the panellists. Answers will also be made available on the White Ribbon Website.

Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy

Helen, the Helen Meads Tragedy published by David Ling Publishing

The Book

David White describes the events of that day, and what led to it, and tells of the ordeals that a family is subjected to when one of their own is murdered. It is a poignant and compelling story. There are issues of custody, access and bail, and looming court appearances. And often, as in this case, there is the killer’s family to deal with. Finally, there is also the bureaucracy and the media that have to be faced and accepted as inevitable intrusions on the private lives of the victim’s families – families who would prefer to be left alone to grieve.

Now that the trial and sentencing have been completed, much more can be told.

David White was born in Pahiatua in 1944 and attended schools there and in Raumati, and was a founding student of Kapiti College. On leaving school, he took a temporary job at Whitcombe and Tombs (now Whitcoulls) and stayed with books, working for publishers and retail booksellers. He retired after selling the Highland Park Bookshop. He now lives in Matamata with his wife Pam. Until the death of his daughter Helen, his retirement consisted of driving a milk tanker for nine months of the year, and fulfilling dreams for the other three. Now responsible for his grandchildren, he is also actively involved in the prevention of violence towards women.

David White explains. “Our daughter was murdered by her husband in 2009. It was a disgusting end to her brutal marriage. All too common these days; so common, in fact, that domestic abuse cases don’t always make it into the media; so common that when you see a headline you won’t bother reading the article. Your mind has already assumed that this is the type of violence that doesn’t affect us.”

“But is does. Violence occurs across all cultures and all socio-economic groups. Our daughter was married to a very wealthy man. The type of man who could buy silence through his money, and he was assisted by those who stood by, looking, but not seeing.”

David has assisted Women’s Refuge with fund-raising and has various projects lined up for 2012. He became a White Ribbon Ambassador and believes passionately that we all have a role to play in reducing and ending this violence.

“By becoming a White Ribbon Ambassador and wearing a white ribbon, I’m saying I want to make a difference. The question is – what type of man are you?” asks David.

“You can help to end the silence by participating in supporting White Ribbon to educate men and help raise our collective voice and say once and for all, that this country and its men, reject violence against women.”

About whiteribbonnz
White Ribbon is a community led campaign to end men's violence towards women

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