Jim | Ōtara

“I’m Jim and I call this my home. This is Tara. Not Ōtara. It’s Tara, named after a famous chief, Tara the Irirangi, if you’re a modern adherent if you believe in history, and I’m a history teacher.

Taught in South Auckland schools all my life. Started in 64 in Pakuranga, and finished up 38 years later at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate School. What’s in a name? Nothing. What are we proud of?  The people. Proud that I’m living in Ōtara, I chose to come here from Howick. I’m happier here, safer here, and I feel I’m making a difference. I’ve got six grandchildren. They’re all married with children of their own, and I’ve got three, four now, grandchildren here in Ōtara. I’ve married again. My first wife is still alive. I was contemplating standing for Mayor, but I’ve thought about it, and flagged it away. I feel I’m doing more good in the few remaining years God gives me, to do something good in Ōtara. First thing Goff, Tamihere stop bitching at each other and give us a home. 

That’s difficult. There have been numerous times when I’ve felt worthwhile in the 77 years. There have been many moments. The proudest I’ve been was when I reached 12 years sober. I’m 12 years sober and they were the worst years of my life, because I’m sane, and can appreciate the bad along with the good. I drank from 19 until I reached 65. I gave up drinking because my granddaughter here in Ōtara, she’s 18 now. When she was younger, she said on a Sunday morning, I’m scared of you, Jim when you’re drunk. So, I stopped drinking the next day.

I can do anything with God’s help. I really value, honour, and try to live the Serenity Prayer. AA, Alcoholics Anonymous has converted the prayer. They call it their own. It’s not their own. I believe it belongs to Frances of Assisi. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I’ve got that serenity, but it goes on to ask for courage to change the things I can, but the hardest of all, is to have the wisdom to know the difference. What you can change, what you can’t change. You can change yourself. That’s all. You can’t change anyone who doesn’t want to be changed.”

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