These are some of the remarkable stories that whanau have shared with us:
Gang leader now changing the gang culture
I don’t want the younger ones to take 50 years to learn the lessons, I want to pass it on while they are still young. We want to finish well and change the perception of the gangs.
In the 1990's I began hitting hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Life started going downhill. Drugs, alcohol and violence became normal. I've been in the [gang] movement for 30yrs. I had no role models, no support. I brought a lot of ugly into the home environment. I highly recommend the Emotional Healing course to everyone, especially the bros from ... more »
From preganat with a P addiction to a new future
You can’t put a price on what they do. How can you put a price on saving someone’s life? In my case they literally saved my life and my child’s. Te Whakaora is brave enough to confront those really hard ugly issues.
[As a child] I hated being sick, even now it sets off triggers, because Dad had access to me. The sexual abuse went on for years. I [would] look at his face and think you're not even my dad, you're a monster. I took gin to school in a lemonade bottle – I was a cupboard alcoholic without realising it. ... more »
Pregnant at 13... Now wanting to invest in her community
They have saved three generations – my parents, us and our kids. I always thought life would be shit. Now I want to get a diploma in social work [to help our community]
"Growing up I had a 'Once Were Warriors' life. Mum and Dad were very hard on me. I sniffed glue from age 10 and slept in the McDonalds car park because I didn't want to go home to the violence I was seeing. I had my first baby at 14 to a gang member ... Being on drugs got me ... more »
From broken and hiding, now free to be herself
When I finished [Te Whakaora’s] programme and looked back at my life, I saw ugly Annie. I’m not that ugly person anymore and when people see me they don’t even recognize me!
When we first met Annie her face was well hidden under a hoodie. She didn't lift her head and barely spoke a word. Referred by her doctor from Te Manu Aute Whare Oranga, she reluctantly said, "I've tried working with other agencies and it hasn't helped. You probably won't be any different." Cliffy began talking about rejection and something changed ... more »
Violence & Prostitution...now studying to be a social worker
Manua fell pregnant to her abusive partner at age 14, and gave birth alone in her bath tub. One evening, fueled with rage, Manua's partner threw the baby on the floor breaking her legs and spine. The baby was in a coma for three months and now lives with permanent disabilities. Manua's child was removed by Child, Youth and Family ... more »
Abuse and depression to community volunteer
"I had been in and out of depression all my life and didn't know it", she says. "It felt like I was walking around in a haze my whole life."
Please be aware, that there are some details in the story below which may be difficult for some people to read.Naomi remembers being abused for the first time when she was just 4-years-old. Her Father removed her from her grandparents (who had raised her up until that point) and her life took a traumatic turn from that point on. The ... more »