Jim | Ōtara

“Last year my wife died on the 22nd July, and that was a real blow for not only me, but for our whole family.

She suffered greatly for the last eight years of her life. She was on dialysis at the clinic, and she had a heart attack going in the car to a clinic and she collapsed on the footpath outside the hospital. Best place for her to be because the medical facilities were all there. The nurses came rushing out. The doctors who were there; I can’t speak highly enough of them at the clinic – the super clinic. They were marvellous, but it’s left um, it’s not a year yet, and I’m lonely.

Our grandson is lonely. It’s more than loneliness; we’re lost. Half our life is gone, and that’s all I can say, really. I’m dealing with it. I have a full life. When my wife was alive, she supported me, and I supported her 50/50, or 100 if you like, 100/100, but she left a big hole, and I filled it with the grandchildren. She’s had three grandchildren; a boy, Lewis 19 – a girl, Stephanie 17 and, an intermediate young chap, called Kelly. Two of those three are living with me, and I have an alcoholic living in the dog box on the property. I didn’t have room in the house because my grandchildren needed the space. I have a full house. I’m frantically trying to fix it up, probably for the grandkids, the house or the money from it. I’m being pressured at the moment through personal circumstances that may necessitate me selling the property.

Ōtara has shrunk from 100 per cent down to 20. Only 20 per cent of Ōtara, the original Ōtara under Manukau County, it shrunk further under Manukau City and Auckland City. And Auckland City; I agree with the idea that it was desirable to have the power of one, but to make Kaipara or Rodney County to compulsory put them in Auckland is stupid. If they wanted to cede, let them go. I think what they’ve done to Ōtara is obliterated. We’ve been chopped in half. We’re only a half a body. You talk about loneliness? In a family that’s, Ōtara is a bit like my wife and I; we’ve been chopped in half. Our family’s been chopped in half, and Flatbush is not Flatbush; it’s part of Ōtara. The mountain, the sacred mountain, Te Puke Ōtara should be in Ōtara; not in Howick.

Jim was last interviewed in the Auckland Humanity Project in November 2017 and reflects on his experience…I think the whole project [Auckland Humanity Project] has been positive, and I’d like to think the comments I’ve made during this interview, and the last were positive. They came up to me saying, oh we heard you, Jim. Thanks for speaking for us. Since then I’ve been made the Chair of ONAC – Ōtara Network Action Committee, and we have trustees that meet. We’ve got Thriving Ōtara, one of the leading initiatives in Ōtara and it’s going well. We’ve got a lake trust which is looking after the lake and that’s going well. We’re currently involved in reviewing the network, and the activities of the lake committee or the lake trust, and I hope we’ll come out with a co-ordinated plan of action.”

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