Toni | Māngere

“About three years ago I was asked to do Neighbourhood Support for my street. Just a long story short, three years later, I now coordinate Neighbourhood Support for the entire of Māngere, and an outcome of that is I now work at Māngere Town Centre as the Crime Preventions Officer.

My role is to look after our vulnerable, which is our homeless, beggars and our youth at risk. So, from something quite negative, as crime is always in our streets, always talking about crime in Māngere and South Auckland, I’ve really turned it, and I’ve turned Neighbourhood Support into celebrating the great things about Māngere and South Auckland. To be able to help our vulnerable groups is just the cream on the top, really. So, a real successful story, being able to help a nine year old boy that was pretty much occupying our streets, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and with just the support of what we’ve been doing and my role, and with the community’s role, he is now a different person. You wouldn’t recognise him, and is very much loved.

I was born in Central Auckland, in Remuera, moved out to Māngere, because my family grew overnight. I’ve got a family, confined family of five now, and Mum and Dad actually had a rental here in Māngere, and that’s where we moved to. So, we’ve been here for about eight years now, and I absolutely love it, and I call home Māngere. And just growing up Central, I always said I’ve kind of been a little bit lost in my identity, being Samoan/Māori in a predominantly white kind of area, coming back to Māngere it’s kind of like I said before, it’s a little pocket of Polynesia, and I’ve been able to connect back to my roots.”

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