Wife’s ‘blood shower’ after star’s attack
Pua Magasiva's widow has revealed the full horror of her abusive relationship with the actor, culminating in a brutal assault on her the night he died.
Lizz Magasiva reveals to the New Zealand Herald that, while the couple's social media profiles suggested the perfect "fairytale" romance, she and her daughter lived in fear of violence and emotional abuse.
She says she was concussed three times by Magasiva and the actor threatened to harm her daughter Laylah, now 8, during the two-and-a-half-year relationship.
"I enabled Pua, in a way, to be violent," Lizz told the Weekend Herald.
"I made excuses for him and made it easy for him to be that way. I want women to speak up and tell the truth. I have kept silent for so long."
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS SERVICES
New Zealand was shocked by the Shortland Street and Sione's Wedding star's death in a suspected suicide in a Wellington hotel room on May 11.
"The reality I was facing was it could've been me who died that night," Lizz says.
Minutes before his death the actor had attacked her in a drunken rage.
She says he banged her head against a table and left her bleeding.
"I was hazy but managed to run into the bathroom. He was still chasing me and punching me. I went into the shower but the blood just poured out."
When she emerged, still dazed and bleeding, she tried desperately but unsuccessfully to revive her husband, following instructions over the phone from an emergency call taker.
"I loved Pua," she said.
"He would threaten to kill himself if I went to the police - or kill me."
Lizz remains frustrated at the reaction to the way Pua was "glorified" after his death - particularly by the 38-year-old actor's "celebrity" friends and by his family.
"They all knew what was going on but did nothing. It is so hypocritical."
Lizz is also locked in a dispute with the Magasiva family, who are refusing to hand over Pua's ashes.
Pua Magasiva died 15 days after he was sentenced to supervision and community work for a drunken assault on Lizz. His name could not be published at the time but the conviction cost him a movie role.
The Herald successfully challenged the suppression order, which ended this week, and Lizz made a submission supporting ending the secrecy.
"It's so important to have Pua's name [suppression] lifted because the truth needs to be out and the truth creates understanding.
"I think we can all learn from this. I wish I had called the police but for my own reasons, I was trapped in a cycle.
"Domestic abuse is an important issue and being a teacher and a victim I think it needs to stop."
After Magasiva's death, Lizz found his diary behind a wardrobe. The pages are full of haunting images, tortured thoughts and self-loathing.
"He talks about a side I haven't seen which was admitting his violence, admitting his anger, admitting he had always been like this. It was really sad because he knew who he was.
"He knew how it was affecting me but he couldn't stop. What he didn't know was he could fix it. It's never too late to fix yourself and I would've stood by him."
Lizz said she was speaking publicly because she wanted women in violent relationships to understand they must "get help or get out".
Lizz, 33, says their relationship had extreme highs and extreme lows. Pua drank, and many of the attacks were fuelled by booze.
"After he hit me he would say 'sorry' even though he wasn't at all. I wanted to believe in the fairytale.
I wanted to believe that - as much as Pua was violent and nasty - he was loving and made me feel like the only person in the world."
Pua Magasiva's immediate family has declined to comment.
His cousin Fa'a Tonu Fili declined to respond to Lizz's domestic violence allegations, but noted "Pua is not here to speak for himself".
Lizz said it was "absolutely heartbreaking" not having her husband's ashes.
"I feel I spent my life covering up for him but I still loved him. We never spent time apart so I want to hold onto the good times as much as the bad."
This article originally appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission