Mereana | Manurewa
“I’ve been really blessed in relation to having a number of things done for me, but one of the ones that stands out mainly for me was when I was in, I was entering Singapore or Bangkok.
Bangkok, that’s right, and to make a long story short, the money that was meant to go into my account from the lawyer back here in New Zealand, it didn’t go in and so I was stuck with not being able to enter the country, and this lovely American man gave me the money. I sort of believe in tagging. You know? What you do for one, well you just keep doing good things, or you try to. Well, because I’m Christian, I think the kindest thing I try to do all the time is live through the Holy Spirit and that is to treat people with respect. That’s mainly it. Be kind.
Well, I wanted to cry, for a start, because I’d never been in that situation, ever because I’m very independent. So, that was probably one of my most vulnerable time, times in my life that I had no way of contacting anyone to be able to help me out, and when he helped me out, I was just floored by his actual kindness. So yeah, I’m majorly interested in, I suppose that’s why I’m still looking at – I’m still studying philosophies.
On my dad’s side I’m from Waikato, and from my mother’s side I’m Ngāti Kohu. Well, I was brought up in Māngere Bridge, actually even though we’re from Waikato, and back then it was really hard in relation to racial relationships. We were the only Māori family living in Māngere Bridge, on one side. Oh, no actually there were a couple, but more they lived more down the marae.
So, we were kind of in a sense isolated from the community, Māori community, and that was a bit difficult, because there were dos and don’ts to make sure that we could fit in the rest of the community, and they were mainly Pākehā. Well, my parents, oh you know, I don’t want to cause any racial tension, because that is the past, and over the years the neighbours and that became friends, but I, I remember distinctly one situation where my sister was called a nigger. She ended up hitting the girl for calling her that, but the outcome was really bad for my sister. So, I don’t really want to go into that too much, because my parents tried really hard to deal with it the best they could, and all they wanted to do was get on with everyone else. So, the other thing was there were five of us, which is unusual for a community like that. Big families weren’t seen as being good.
First and foremost (I value) being a Christian, living the principles as a Christian, walking your talk, and I’m very profoundly proud of being Māori. I think actually that’s the centre of what could make a healthy community, because sadly with all the poverty and the deprivation that a lot of people go through living in certain areas, especially in Auckland, the one thing most people want is kindness. Can change your whole life by just somebody being kind to you, or even smiling or saying something really nice.”