Note: in the following story names and identifying details have been changed to protect the service user’s identity
He grew up mostly without a father and his home environment had been rocky, however he knew he wanted a better life for his family.
At the beginning of the year he moved to Rotorua and enrolled on the Hāpai Huānga programme.
“Being here has given me a sense of value and purpose in life because of the traditional teachings in the kaupapa. I haven’t been around much of the te reo stuff, so this wānanga’s really helped me connect with my roots. Within that, it’s set me on the right path and I’m now setting myself positive goals, keeping a positive mindset, and doing the best I can for my family. “I haven’t seen my father for years, so I had wanted to get that father-figure with gang members. But my Atua - the Māori gods - are my whānau figures now. Pat shares their stories and has given us an introduction on navigating the stars. That’s one of the things I enjoy the most. If I sit in the same spot every night and focus on one star and look where it’s going, I can navigate.”
Rawiri has plans to start up his own landscaping business, which is a great passion of his.
“I’d always thought I’m not good enough, but now I know I can do it; I just need to put the work in. It’s given me a confidence that I’ve been able to take back to my family. They can feel I’m more positive and in a better mindset – and it’s contagious. Our relationships have grown a lot and it’s all positive.”