Al | Te Hāpara, Gisborne
“Living on the East Coast here, you get a lot of tourists coming through, and I’d met some people from South America, and because I was out in the garden at the time, I was explaining to them about our potatoes, which I thought were indigenous to Māori.
So I was showing them these little black potatoes, and telling them all about it, and they were starting to look at it, and they said, oh no, back home we call those gourmet potatoes. So even though I hadn’t met someone from South America and we lived way down here at the other part of the world, just a potato showed a small connection, and that started our kōrero, and I actually ended up learning a lot more about South America, and found myself doing a bit more research into potatoes and finding out that really we’re just custodians of them, that most of the potatoes do come from South America, originally. I think it shows that it doesn’t matter what walk of life we come from, all different diversities, everyone has something to offer, and if you’re willing to, to listen, you can learn.
We all come from different walks of life, and everyone, I believe, has some story to tell, and you think that your story is sad, and then you hear another sad story, and you think to yourself, well that’s pretty bad. You realise that you need to take ownership of this, and actually start taking control of your own journey, your own life. I think for a lot of our whānau who come along to the group, we’ll probably start to hear those stories and start gaining some new tools, and being able to work through issues that we all may come across at some time in our lives. So, that’s what I love about this group, and I feel that the team here does a very good job.
I originally come from Auckland. South Auckland. I went to Ngā Iwi Primary School, and then Māngere Intermediate and Māngere College. You’re always striving to do better, and so I wanted a better life than what I had come from. So I started off on that journey where you didn’t have much in life, and so you strived to get all the material things in the world, and you’re working long hours and trying to get all these beautiful things that life has to offer, material things, and then after a time, you start to realise that actually, the material things don’t matter. It’s whānau time, family time that’s really important. So then you start to adjust your thinking, and realise that actually, I can live on a lot less, and have a pretty good life at the same time. So how I ended up down here, I had more whānau time. We ended up having breakfast together. We had lunch together. We had dinner together, and we ended up with a very good family unit at the end of that journey. My children are grown up now, and they’ve moved on, but I think we instilled a great experience for them, and hopefully they too will see the world in a different light.
Tauawhi. It’s embracing, awhi, support. I think Tim and the team here do a beautiful job. I just felt that possibly I may have something to offer, and no matter how small or how big, I think everyone has something to offer in some way.
Well, my cousin, Phil Paikea, travels the country and he has come along to this group. He’s based in Whangārei, and we have similar upbringings, similar background stories. I saw the work that he was doing, and I work for Te Aitanga a Hauiti Hauora, and work with special needs and a little bit of mental health. I think this community has so many good people that are willing to give up their time and support whānau, and just to help get people on a good pathway to a better future for themselves.”