Eru | Māngere East

“I’m doing a course over at the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Tēnā Koe. I just started doing my course. I didn’t know which way to go, and one of my friends actually said to me, why don’t you come with me and I’ll introduce you to a course that we’re doing over at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Now, before I started doing that course, things weren’t going too well for me, pretty much downhill, but over the last six weeks, since I’ve started doing this course, it’s actually helped me realise what I need to do, and I’m glad she helped me, because without her, I wouldn’t be doing this course now. I’d be probably just bumming around looking for something to do, getting stoned and doing those silly things that I used to do before, but I’ve stopped doing that now, and I’m more focussed, thanks to my mate. That was the dark side of me back then, but I’m starting to learn a lot. I’ve learned a lot more now, and something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’ve still got a long way yet though before I get to where I need to be. So, I’ve got three years to prove myself, and to my kids.

I’ve only been on it for the last month, but I’m enjoying it. At the moment we’re learning to do whakapapa. It’s all about learning about whākapapa, genealogy, where you come from, who you’re related to, and learning the basic aspects of being a Māori. I really enjoyed that, eh? Something that I’m passionate about. It’s in my heart. In my tinana, wairua. So I’m really looking forward to hopefully graduating by the end of this year, because this course goes on for three years. So, if you want to come in, don’t be shy. Come and have a look, and if you happen to walk around and you see me, I’ll take you up to the main office and I’ll show you around the wānanga facility.

I was born in Matatā. That’s where I was born, and I left there when I was three years old. I got adopted out to another whānau from Blenheim, I went to Blenheim when I was three years old, and I stayed there till I was about 15. I went to school down there, Blenheim Spring Creek School, 1976. From there on I moved to Nelson, stayed at Nelson for a few years. Then I moved to Palmerston North, went to school over there, Queen Elizabeth College. I hated that school. I went through a lot of trouble at that school, and then from Queen Elizabeth College I went to Wellington High School. I loved that school. That was a cool school, and then from Wellington High School I went back to Palmerston North, and stayed with my foster mother who brought me up. She’s a botanist. She studies plants and they were good parents to me. I loved them, too. They were my heart and soul, but I am still in contact with them now and then, but haven’t seen them for a while. I really miss them.”

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