Ladi 6's painful past and her journey to a positive future

Ladi6 is so proud of the changes in her father, Vic. ''He’s a loving, caring man and proof of how people can change,'' says the songstress.

By Ellen Mackenzie
For Kiwi songstress Ladi6, watching her dad Vic Tamati hang out with her 15-year-old son Philli is a simple yet great joy.
"He may not have been there for me growing up, but he's been there for my kid and is a loving grandfather now," tells the Christchurch-born Samoan beauty.
When the dad-daughter duo come together for our photo shoot, they're full of laughter and smiles, but this wasn't always the case. Growing up, Ladi's family was torn apart by violence when Vic became abusive towards his wife and kids.
He explains, "My last convictions and charges were all for assaults. Assault on Ladi's mum, assault on the guy who tried to save her, then assaulting the cops who tried to come and arrest me."
Having been raised by a violent father, anger was all Vic, 64, knew. But after one abusive outburst towards his eldest daughter that saw him hit her with the heel of a shoe, he began to see how broken his kids were and how much they blamed themselves for his anger.
Ladi6 on Celebrity Treasure Island
"I went to a stop violence programme in 1992 and failed it," he recalls. "It was only a 20-week course, but I'd been doing this for 40 years – it wasn't enough."
But father-of-six Vic was determined to change for the sake of his kids and continued to practise everything he learnt.
He tells, "In one 12 month-period, I had seven friends die, one after another from car crashes, suicides, sniffing petrol and overdoses. I knew that if I didn't change, that was where my kids were heading."
Fast-forward to 2019 and he's a new man running his own charity, Safe Man Safe Family, where he dedicates his days to helping other domestic violence perpetrators understand their anger and turn their lives around.
With her dad in Tanzania in 1996.
Reflecting on his new life, he says, "I used to not want to share with everyone the horrible things that I had done. But now I see how much I can help others. All we do is put these men in jail, but what help are they going to get there? They come out and do it all over again. I've been through the process and can understand and help them change."
Karoline, adds, "We love this new guy that we've been introduced to. We have this idea as human beings that once you're put into this box, that's you – you are now reduced to that for the rest of your life, but I just don't believe that.
"There is room to change and we actually need to create these spaces so that families can have a new life. My dad was violent, but he's no longer like that – he's a loving, caring man and proof of how people can change."
Wedding day: The singer with husband Brent Park and son Philli.
But despite the "Like Water" singer's passion for her dad's charity, Ladi knows not many Kiwis have heard about it, which is why she jumped at the chance to support the cause as a contestant on the new season of Celebrity Treasure Island.
"I said I'd only do the show if I could represent my dad's charity," explains the hip-hop queen, who will fight to win money for Safe Man Safe Family each day on the TVNZ 2 series.
Vic was named in the Queen's New Year's Honours in 2019, and was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the prevention of family violence.
"I've watched my dad change and I've had that personal experience to know that it works. I also just believe in the work he is doing.
"The idea is that if the man is safe, then the whole family is safe and that instigates a new legacy for a family, so they are forever changed and there is no more domestic violence. I really feel like it's something that's truly important, especially in our country."
In New Zealand, one in three Kiwi women will experience physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime, and almost half of all homicides are committed by a family member. It's shocking statistics like these that motivated Ladi to share her dad's charity.
With fellow treasures (from left) Eric Murray, Lily McManus, Shannon Ryan, Sam Wallace, Jodie Rimmer and Karl Burnett on Celebrity Treasure Island.
She concludes, "It really does bond families back together after a traumatic or horrific upbringing. I feel like that's a really Kiwi story that's hidden behind these Instagramable lives that we like to portray.
"I know that it's real for me, so if it's real for me, a 'celebrity', then it's real for a whole lot of people."
Where to get help
If you are experiencing or witnessing domestic violence, please contact Safe Man Safe Family on 0800 SAFEHELP, or one of the following services for information, advice and support. If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 111.
Shine – 0508 744 633.
Women's Refuge – 0800 733 843.

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