Pua Magasiva's widow breaks her silence
The widow of Samoan actor, Pua Magasiva, has broken her silence about the ongoing abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, whose name suppression has been lifted, before his death in May this year, stuff.co.nz reports.
In a letter to the Courts, Lizz Sadler revealed Mr. Magasiva had spat on her face, held her in a chokehold and dragged by the neck.
He had been arrested for his actions last June and even pleaded guilty later down the track in November. In a desperate bid to keep his fame and career, he and Ms. Sadler were preparing to ask the New Zealand High Court for permanent name suppression.
“I pursued this to protect my husband's career and particularly because he was still drinking and I was terrified his anger would return,” she wrote.
“Now it is very evident that if I had told the truth in the first place and not been silenced then, Pua may have gotten the help that he needed and I could have had a voice.”
Ms. Sadlers letter can be revealed after Mr. Magasiva’s name suppression lapsed, just after midnight on Wednesday December 18.
Stuff.co.nz’s #MeTooNZ editor Alison Mau said the letter “rings with regret and grief, as Sadler wonders whether speaking out sooner might have saved her husband's life.
It is suspected that Mr. Magasiva died of suicide.
“Sadler, who married Magasiva in 2018, touches on the impossible choices victims of domestic violence often face.”
The night Mr. Magasiva was found dead in a hotel room, his wife had been beaten to the point of hospitalisation. A stranger found her after the assault, she wrote in the letter.
“I blamed myself because he blamed me and I did everything in my power to protect and lie for him but now I have the chance to be heard and speak my truth.
“I do not want anyone to be hurt and do not want to dishonour Pua's memory, but I also do not want to be revictimised by being forced to hold the truth alone in silence.
“I'm still healing from this offending behaviour and his death, which occurred after a night of anger and further assault. This is my pain, this is my truth and I need to have the ability to speak freely in order to get through this.
“I cannot do this in silence. I ask please that the silence end.”
Mr. Magasiva, who played a Power Ranger in the Power Rangers Ninja Storm and had a leading role on the New Zealand television drama Shortland Street, was born in Apia in 1980, and moved to New Zealand as a two-year-old.
After his death, his brother Robbie Magasiva revealed he was a man who “struggled with his demons,” Stuff.co.nz reports.
Those same demons were raised in the aftermath of his suspected suicide, and many in the acting world and the Pasifika community spoke out about the importance of supporting loved ones with mental health issues.
He was first convicted in 2003, with a drink driving charge. It happened again in 2005, and then once more in 2017 after he sped off on a motorbike from an argument with his then-fiancé Ms. Sadler.
Mr. Magasiva was found to have more than twice the legal drink driving limit, and was sentenced to 80 hours community work, 2 months supervision and disqualified from holding a drivers licence for 13 months.
But he would contravene those orders ten months later and won himself a fine.
The night he spat in the face of his wife of four months happened in July 2018.
Stuff’s Catrina Owen reports he kicked Ms. Sadler under a restaurant table for saying something he didn’t like, leading her to leave their dinner early and go home.
Later that night he returned drunk to find her sleeping. He woke her by spitting in her face and threatening to take her passport.
In court, Judge Claire Ryan described the ordeal in detail.
“She hid the passports from you and you grabbed her by the arms and used her arms to hit you in the face,” she said during his sentencing for assault.
Ms. Sadler went to call police after her husband placed her in a headlock, having dragged her by the neck. But he took her phone and threw it away, smashing it. Ms. Sadler was left with walking outside the house to hail a taxi and go to police alone.
He was finally charged for those crimes in May this year, and two weeks later he was found dead. His actions against his wife have only become public knowledge today.