Tau | Otara

“I grew up in Turangi, Central North Island below the mountains there. Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, Pihanga. All the mountains around there, beside the Lake Taupo, yeah. Hung out there and then had to go to school obviously, and grow up, and all I wanted to do was drive trucks. So, as soon as I was old enough, got my license and achieved my goal as a truck driver. I was driving for about 30 years.

Yeah my eye is totally blind. It was a domestic issue with the ex-girlfriend, 14 years ago. She didn’t need to do this. You know? There was no need to blind me in my eye for a silly argument. I didn’t touch her. Nah, I just asked her to take me to the hospital, and it took awhile for her to actually say, yes she’ll take me to the hospital. Like, 15-20 minutes later here’s me still asking her to take me to the hospital. Yeah, so yeah that’s what happened there. Yeah, it’s been hard, you know, hard with my son passing on, you know, committing suicide. Never thought I’d ever have to deal with that sort of issue, and it’s really affected my life over the years.

It’s been eight years since he passed away, and I still feel it today. Um, probably fell into a bit of depression, when I lost my eye and obviously very much so when I lost my son. I just hit the bottle and the drugs, as some people do. But then it was actually the girlfriend that took my eyesight rung me up and said, hey you should pick yourself out of that gutter. This was after my son died. Instead of the drugs, and the alcohol every day, do something. Change your direction…. go back to what you loved. And that was obviously truck driving, she gave me a couple of guys names and rung them up and that was me back into that happy place again, for a few years. It took away those moments of depression and grief and I guess the tears. Going back to that happy place behind the wheel.

Recently I wanted a change. With the eye bad, no good being on the road blind, going blind in the other one. I want a new career path, but ah, the career path hasn’t been happening so far, so I’m on the sickness benefit at the moment, and that is where I’m at, in Auckland on the sickness benefit, and that’s where I’m going now, to WINZ to sort out some things.

Random act of kindness

Random act of kindness? Well, I was, oh I was in town one night drinking, as you do, and ah, after a bit of drinking you get hungry, so yeah I walked up to Queen Street Burger King, and ah, I notice this homeless guy with ah, obviously had crutches, but he was asleep outside one of the shops on the same side as Burger King. So, I went and grabbed my burgers and only had enough money for a couple of burgers, and when I came out I gave him one of my burgers and carried on. Yeah, so that was my kindness, I guess.

Heart to heart with a loved one

The last heart to heart? Geez, I can’t remember, actually. I guess it was um, to my nephew. He was feeling a bit down, and I just said, think about your cousin, which is ah, my second eldest son, who committed suicide, at the age of 15, and ah, I said, if you ever need somebody to talk to, we’re always here, I’m always here, just give me a call and ah, you know you’re never alone.

Connected with your culture

Culture? That is a good question. I’m not very connected as I should be, to my Māori culture, which is very shocking I must admit, and ah, quite embarrassed about it but yeah I can’t really iterate on that anymore, actually. Yeah, just that I’m quite embarrassed that I ain’t more connected, and you know, I’m getting older and I should be, you know, going back to my roots, and learning more about it. So yes, very embarrassed, I guess as, as a Māori guy.

Connected with someone you don’t know

Yeah, I guess it was two people actually. I was at one of the bars in town, a Saturday evening actually at this table by myself, just kicking there by myself, and ah I was just looking in one direction and this guy tapped me on the shoulder, and I turned around and it was this ah, oh well, a little bit older than me guy, Pākehā guy tapped me on the shoulder, he goes, heya mate. And I said, heya mate. And he goes, can I join you? I said, sure you can. And well, he joined me and then his brother come along, and well it was like we knew each other for years, and yeah well, yeah awesome. We had an awesome night and awesome time together and now I’ve got his number and he gives me cheek every now and then. You know? He rings me up. Yeah, that was, yeah awesome guy to meet.

Yeah, too much hate, too much violence in the world today, people. You know? One love, one people, one world, and peace. Peace is what we want in the world, because at the moment we’re struggling on that. There’s no colour. We’re all just, we all bleed the same colour. More love, that’s what I say. I’m open to anybody, eh? All colours and nationalities, that’s why I like going into the city, because all the foreigners hang out in the city and I love that sort of thing, meeting new people from different countries and getting to know them. So yeah, don’t be shy to say hello on the streets. You know? If you see somebody going past, say hello, and yeah always puts a smile on somebody’s face when you get a reply, and yeah. Yeah, just remember one love, one world, one people, peace.”

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