I didn’t have a good start to life. My mum used to hit me a lot. She even broke four of my ribs once.
My nana witnessed what was going on and took me in, but it was short-lived because she suffered a medical event and, at the age of 9, I ended up in a Child Youth and Family unit, then adult impatient, and I was in and out of foster homes until I was 18.
At 18, I tried to have a relationship with my Mum but that didn’t go the way I had hoped. She told me she didn’t want me around and that I was just a problem child, so I ended up living on the streets for a few years. I felt abandoned and unwanted. I was so alone.
I got into drugs, all kinds of drugs, and alcohol and I got involved with a gang. I lived in doorways, anywhere I could find, and I spent my days looking for my next fix.
I was on a very dark path and I was battling suicidal thoughts but I couldn’t seem to change my ways. I ended up in jail three times and probably spent a combined period of two years there. I’ve been on probation, supervision and I’ve had community work.
I decided I needed to make a change in my life. I was the only person who could change it. I didn’t want to go back to jail, so I started trying to change my life for the better. I became a Christian and I got baptised. I have great support from the church.
I came to Nga Kete for support with drug and alcohol addiction (I am completely drug and alcohol free now) and I enrolled in He Puna Waiora Wellness Centre. I was then referred to Whanau Ora from my GP.
The Whanau Ora navigator has had a massive impact on my life and the positive support I have received has been life-changing. I already knew the navigator as she used to be one of my probation officers, so that was a massive help – she knew my story and background.
The navigator has assisted me in my day-to-day life including making sure I had things to do for the day so I had a reason to get out of bed. She has helped me to get out of the criminal system by supporting me when I had to appear in court and talking to my lawyer. She is also helping me to get into better accommodation.
We’re doing some goal planning. My goal is to become a vet nurse and the navigator has helped me to apply to become a volunteer at the SPCA, and we’re looking at study options for next year. I am also getting into some physical exercise, which makes me feel a lot better within myself.
It’s been so great having someone to listen to me when I just need someone to talk to.
I’ve realised that if I put my mind to it and not give up, I can do anything, and for the first time in my life, I’m looking forward to the future.