The programme is aimed at men aged 18-24 and aims to deter burglars from re-offending. Our re-integrative programme runs for six months in a linked-up triangulated approach working alongside Corrections.
Below is the story of one of the programme's participants:
I was a naughty kid who suffered from constant feelings of fear and anxiety. I skipped school, I smoked drugs and I got into trouble often.
But it was all normal for me. Growing up, I would come home from school every day to my parents drinking, smoking drugs and partying.
Half the time I didn’t even know what my dad was on. He could have been on anything. My parents split when I was 12 and my mother went even further off the rails, dad was never home and the doors were always locked.
I had no idea what a normal childhood was and the feelings of fear, anxiety and paranoia continued to intensify. I was always sad and angry at school – I just didn’t have anyone in my corner. I was lucky though to have siblings who were always supportive of me.
I committed my first offence at 16 and after that it just became normal. I got into trouble for drink-driving, theft, wilful damage, and eventually burglary. I had left the bad environment at home, but continued to carry it with me.
Despite all of this, I found employment and never went without a job. For a couple of years, I stayed out of trouble but then my car was impounded because of a friend and things began to snowball once again. I started drinking more, taking harder drugs, and this time I ended up in jail.
I was at rock bottom and I started considering suicide.
But then I got out of jail and started the Corrections programme. I wasn’t all that keen on doing it, but I was excited about doing it.
I can’t believe the massive difference it has made in my life. All of a sudden I had a support network around me including the mentors and the other men in the group. The programme has helped to change the way I think and connect with those in the same situation as me. We could express how we felt and help each other through.
I’ve gained a lot more confidence from the programme and even though I’m still a little, I’m not as heavy as I once was. I think it’s because I’ve been able to let it all out, and been taught a new cycle of thinking – how to think properly before I do something, and how to express myself with confidence. I also found Art Therapy helpful and it helped me to gain another little bit of confidence.
My mentor at Nga Kete has helped me a lot. I had a few down days but he motivated me to leave the house. In fact, he would come and pick me up which I found incredibly helpful since I have no licence. He’s actually helping me to get my licence back, and has helped me transfer doctor’s.
He also gave me the confidence to do the haka and to lead it. It feels like he’s given us his mana.
Although I have graduated from the programme, my mentor is still going to look after me, which makes me feel supported and cared about.
I’ve become friends with the guys in the group. We’ve formed a bit of a brotherhood as we’ve supported each other along the way and I’m excited to have found that.
I still don’t know where my parents stand in my life. I think they’re just my friends. I don’t know why I feel like that. I love them, but I don’t need them.
I’m not drinking as much now, but when I do I never leave the house and it’s always just a few quiets with friends.
My future looks brighter than it ever has before. I’ve got a plan which involves my career and buying a house. I’m so grateful for this programme helping me get my life on track!