I am one of four children, but in my childhood I don’t remember very many happy times. My father was associated with the Headhunters motorcycle gang, and our life was like Once Were Warriors triple times. We were physically, emotionally and mentally abused.
My mum, though, was a staunch Catholic and the one thing I do remember, is that she always told us Jesus had died on the cross for us.
I was 12 when Mum finally got the courage up to leave Dad. We moved in and out of refuges, but Dad would always track us down. He put hits out on us, and we had to change our names. Dad told my mum, ‘If I can’t have you, no one can. I’ll kill you.’
When I was entering my teenage years, I was sexually molested and this affected me badly. I turned into a horrible young woman; I didn’t really want to be alive. I got heavily into marijuana, and was back and forth between my mum and dad. Just after my first son was born, I spent three months in jail on drug related charges.
Life really hit rock bottom for me a few years ago, when my beloved mother died. She was my best friend, and I nursed her through two years of cancer. I was her tono—the one who did everything for her. Just after my mum died, my oldest son went missing for three months. In all the stress, my partner began to get abusive to me.
With just the clothes I had on, I took my other three children and went to a refuge. I took an overdose and woke up in hospital. But the refuge took me back, and I was blessed to be given a home through Housing NZ. I cried out to God, ‘Lord, please help me find my child.’ Not long after, the police brought my son home to me.
I was going regularly to The Salvation Army in Waitakere to get help for food. One day, someone called me and asked if I would like to fellowship there as well. I was still missing my mum, so I decided that I would go to church on my birthday.
I went that day, and have been there ever since. It was three years ago that I started journeying with the Lord.
About a year ago, I felt that I had to hand over my Māori culture to God, and he gave it back to me. I was asked to be involved with the national Māori Ministry and help lead the Auckland area, where I was involved in launching the ‘I’ll fight’ haka at Congress last year.
The Lord taught me how to forgive my dad when he tried to beat me again, and I felt like I was an eagle flying. After that, my father came to the Lord, and he spent the last days of his life fellowshipping at Waitakere Corps. My son is journeying with the Lord too.
I am now a soldier in The Salvation Army, and have just taken up a position as the Court and Prison Officer/Police Diversion Coordinator at the Auckland District Court. God is using everything that I have been through, to touch other souls. I pray for his presence everyday, and he has filled me with joy.