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Anita Grafton: A legacy of love

Anita Grafton was a much-loved friend, colleague and inspiration. Her recent death has had a massive impact on our community – both personally and professionally.

Anita became involved with Home Ground as a clinical advisor, delivering the practical counselling and navigation skills needed when working in the justice system. Her work on the Kahukura pilot project (June 2019) displayed how essential her skills and expertise were to the ongoing Home Ground project, and she became an integral part of the delivery over the next four projects.

Anita worked as a clinical advisor, facilitator, counsellor and mental health practitioner on all Home Ground projects. She was essential in the trauma-informed design of the practice (arts and clinical) and was a co-creator for the delivery of a range of creativity and wellbeing workshops.

Anita was the only clinical person on our team, and was committed tirelessly to the collective. She had the superpowers of unconditional love and support, and was a radical truth-telling optimist. Her generosity was above and beyond, and her unconditional acceptance of all of us meant we were heard, respected, appreciated and felt loved.

Anita’s background in Corrections and application of clinical knowledge and best practice when working with women who have experienced significant trauma truly meant that we could collectively honour the wisdom of those with lived experience of the justice system.

We gained a deeper level of understanding of trauma, addictions, mental health and our own ability to manage these things safely because of Anita’s involvement. Her charismatic and personal delivery of our ‘Impact of Trauma on Neuro-science’ workshop meant we could make true connections with this information. These connections have been life-changing for some.

Our safe practice and guiding principle of ‘do no harm’ is essential to Home Ground, and Anita supported us in making that a reality.

Anita will still support us in spirit as we deliver in the community. And at a time when women need support more than ever, Anita will forever be an inspiration with her core belief that women will change the world.

We are so incredibly proud of what we achieved over the last year. Anita was even prouder of the fact that we are a strong group of creative wāhine, inside and outside of prison, who have hope and determination to change the world from their kitchen table. We know that it could not have been created without Anita. She has changed the world for a community of women, and created a legacy of work that is cutting edge in trauma informed practice in 2020.

Anita, your strength and power goes so far beyond the physical realm. We will see you in our gardens, at our table, in the moon, sun and stars. We will make the mahi matter, and we will trust the process because you are holding us to account.

Your eyebrow is raised, your hair bright pink, that perfectly painted nail is pointing at the work ahead. We will celebrate the wins, we will honour your legacy, rest in peace now, your work is done. We love you Anita.

You walked with us

E hoa ma

Took us under your wing and into your heart

Stood beside us, broke bread at our table, sang a soothing song, shared tears until only smiles remained

You talked with us

Uo moni

Saw our pain in the way that only you could, drew it to the surface where it could torment no more

You believed in us

My friend

Lifted shattered spirits, your brush strokes with mine,  bought renewed meaning to our lives

You shall never leave

We carry you with us

The baton has been passed

In a race that you begun

Rest under our wings

Held close to our hearts

sister mine


Anita’s celebration of life service will be


Tuesday 3rd November

Old St Pauls

34 Mulgrave Street, Pipitea, Wellington 6011

At Anita's request- please wear bright colours. All welcome.


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