Arnea – Sandringham

“I’m a solo parent, now a solo grandmother, and lived in Sandringham for 14 years.

Been to all the schools with the children and their families, met lots and lots of lovely parents around this area, before that I was at Pt. Chevalier. I didn’t meet anybody so I guess Sandringham is the best place to be – to meet people. Lovely people.

Tough, very tough – you’re on your own, totally on your own. You just got to make it work. We get paid by the Government, which is a great help. I’m not dissing them at all – they are a great help. But you also still got to make everything stretch from pay day to pay day and you got school children then you got teenagers which makes it even harder, because teens want the most expensive items that the other teens have got – monkey see monkey do.

Now I’m looking after one of my son’s daughter, who passed away about 5 years ago, I’m sorry to say about him. But, she’s a nice girl, and we’ve got her mother with us so that’s fine with us. I’ve met a lot of parents around here. They all call me Nanny Tuti – all the children. So there you are, I’ve got lots of children as friends too.

They learn as they grow. Like a child’s first 5 years they learn the most from their parents and then as they go to school, and all of that, they learn from their peers, their teachers, they come home and bring it home to us and then we learn what we didn’t even think we knew, but we know now so we’re actually teaching each other as we’re growing. It’s good growing with your children, and everybody else is as well. We learn lots.

Well, I spent 20 years at Pt. Chev and I only knew the immediate neighbours around my house, which wasn’t much fun, because… Sorry neighbours at Pt. Chev! Whereas here, we can go to each others houses and have cups of teas and have chats and talk about our children and our children’s problems and how we can help each other to sort them out and how to approach it. Especially with our children, because our kids are all the same age you see.

Well, I just think that people should accept other people in general. I mean we’re all the same. That’s what I like about Sandringham – it’s a melting pot – there we go that’s all we are in Sandringham is one big melting pot we’re all friendly and that’s how we should be all over of New Zealand. We should take people as they are, and as we are.

I’m bringing up my granddaughter on my own as I did her father and her uncle. So, I have her mother around but I’m the sole carer of my granddaughter so hence solo grandma, and of course, like I said, if I didn’t have the mothers in Sandringham I don’t know how we would have coped without each other, because we help each other out a lot just by talking

Talking is good. To talk to people, say hi to everybody in the street, that’s a wonderful thing. It certainly doesn’t hurt to smile and say hello even if you don’t know the person. I say hello to everybody. Yes, yes, mothers and grandmothers, right on. We all do it and we’ve got lots of grandmothers here who do the same as me, I’m not the only solo grandparent in Sandingham. There are quite a few of us, and we all get together and have chats at the community centre when there’s one going. Lately there hasn’t been, because we’ve all split apart at the moment, but that’s because it’s cold, and we don’t want to come out to each others house in the rain in the cold at the moment.”

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