Anaru | Māngere, Auckland

“I’m just really grateful that I was able to return back to New Zealand after living in Sydney for seven years, but unfortunately, because I got made redundant, I wasn’t able to stay there financially, so I was really grateful that I was able to come back home, and be able to be supported by the Government. 

For me, it was finding out what I really wanted to do with my life, and so when I returned back home, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I managed to enrol into an art and design course, in Manukau, and I realise that this is what I really wanted to do. So, it was really good for me to do the art and design course. Learned how to paint. Learned how to do sculpture. Learned about Photoshop, photography and all the different aspects of creative art, and that was a real blessing for me, when I returned back home. I realised that this is definitely what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I just get really passionate, it’s something that I’ve always gravitated towards as I was growing up, and I was learning about different types of art. I just realised that this is something that I was really interested in, something that I really wanted to learn more about, and so I just started to go to different museums and different sites where I can learn about art. I’m quite creative anyway and this is a good way of learning about the nitty-gritty of art. So, learning how to draw, learning what colours go together, learning about how fabrics work together as well, because I love fashion as well. 

So, I was born and bred in Māngere. I’ve grown up in that suburb. It’s one of those suburbs where you get the good and bad. So, you get the gangs. That’s part of where I was living. You get alcoholism. You get the drugs. You become a lot more aware of things and I didn’t really want to go down that path. So, I wanted to do something that was going to be positive. But I also knew that it was going to help me greatly to where I want to go. It’s very hard living in the suburb that I was living in, because you grew up in a family that wasn’t very supportive, quite honestly, and you grew up in a family where there were always parties going on. There was alcohol all the time. So, it was something that I was being influenced by. I thought that was how my life was going to turn out, but I kind of changed it once I realised that there’s more to life than just having parties and getting drunk. I wanted to better myself in that sense, and so that’s what I did. I basically left New Zealand, moved to Sydney, and I was living there for seven years, and it just really opened me up to a whole different way of looking at my life. The people that I met in Australia, just really changed my whole perception of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

When I go to a museum, even when I go to a café, and I see the beautiful display of cakes or the food that’s in the display units. That to me, that’s art. When I walk into a library and I see these beautiful, pictures everywhere, that to me is art, it’s a beautiful part of being human, really and I love that. It’s important for people to realise there’s a lot of beauty out in the world, and it’s good to experience that.”

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