Peter – Te Atatu Peninsula

Last night, we actually went to Henderson first for a little bit of a shop around, found some smoked fish, so that was our choice of dinner last night; smoked fish sandwiches, shared with my wife and daughter and grand-daughters. Smoked fish and bread and butter; that’s what my wife wanted, so that’s what we had. It was yummy. We love it. My wife was happy; happy wife – happy life.

I was born in Te Atatu – raised in Te Atatu – been there 50-odd years. My family’s been here as long as I was born; 53 years I am now. So my family’s been here about 60 years in Te Atatu. I’m the last in my family to live in Te Atatu out of all my whole family.

Te Atatu has changed with the amount of people that are staying around here now. Where our homestead is, it used to be all horse paddocks and bush; now it’s just all houses. The paddock across the road from our place was our playground. We didn’t have TV, video games, phones; nah, best place was outside – play in the paddock, go down to the beach – used to do a lot of fishing down there – a lot of net fishing. You can’t do that now, they say because it’s polluted. So that’s changed.

Definitely the ethnic side of Te Atatu has changed. It was basically just a couple of different races; now there are heaps of different races. It just shows you everyone can live together. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you are; people have just got to get past that of judging each other. That’s all it is, I think anyway, but it’s a beautiful place to live in. I suppose like anywhere; it’s what you make of it. If you want it to be a nice place, it’ll be a nice place. If you want it to be a hood, well then you’ll make it a hood, won’t you?

I actually got assaulted in my home. I got assaulted and lost my eye. It was a choice of keeping it or not keeping it. I didn’t want to keep it because if you can’t see out of it, what good is it? So I opted to have it taken out. I have a false eye, but I don’t wear it, because it’s uncomfortable. It happened probably going on three years now; I’m still getting used to depth perception. It is pretty tricky; go to grab something and it’s actually further than what it is in front of you. Slowly I’m getting used to it – still banging into corners though, on my left hand side, because that’s my blind side, but persevere. You have to. You can’t just stop because you lost something; you’ve got to carry on. Life goes on. The assault is just something I want to leave behind.

When I can’t see someone on my left, I bump into a lot of people when I’m shopping, and they give me this really filthy look like, why don’t you watch where you’re going! Obviously, they don’t know I’m blind. It was quite hard. I didn’t like going out, because of that, and because of people looking. That’s why I always used to wear my glasses.

The best thing I did was get hold of The Blind Foundation who helped me out. They gave me a blind-stick. That blind-stick – it’s like a miracle. The difference is, when I didn’t have it, people just assumed I was ignorant, but as soon as I had that stick in my hand, people were heaps different. They’ll move out of your way for you. Cars will stop, and not even at the pedestrian crossing cars were stopping for me. The power of that stick; it’s amazing.

You have to persevere. I can’t go back and get another eye, so I make the best of what I can of it. I just carry on in life. I’m getting there. Slowly but surely I’m getting there. Slowly; I lost a lot of confidence after this incident, but got a bit more confidence back now. Like I said; it’s like riding a horse. You fall off – you get back on it and keep going.

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