Mahana Southern Māori Mental Health and Addiction Service: I Am Important

Your stories
Your Stories
April 23, 2024

I had a rough upbringing surrounded by drugs and alcohol and from the age of five I was raising my siblings and cousins on my own.

My parents were alcoholics and gamblers, which meant I had to grow up really fast.

Throughout my childhood I experienced sexual assault, assault, and the death of my seven-week-old brother who was left in my care when I was just 11. I was blamed by my whanau and I lived with the guilt.

I completely went off the rails as a teenager due to my past trauma. I was violent and would often assault people and I was smoking marijuana every single day.  My wakeup call came when I ended up in jail for 18 months.

I knew I needed to balance myself so I started coming to see a counsellor at Mahana.

The counsellor has helped me with solutions to problems, especially when I’m mad. They have taught me breathing techniques and to think first before actioning things. They’ve helped me to just be me and to open up about anything. I can actually talk about things, especially from my past, that I’ve never been able to talk about.

I also now know that I am not responsible for my brother’s death and I should not have to live with that guilt.

They have built my confidence and to be honest, they have been my rock. They have taught me not to hold back and made me feel like I am actually important in this world.

I have been sober for three years and spend my days raising my seven children, who I am so proud of, and working at the Kura. My babies are what keep me solid and I am so protective of them. My husband and I have been together for 17 years and together, we make a great team.

At the moment we are all enrolled in a course learning Te Reo – my kids are now fluent!

I’m working, beng a good mum, and enjoying life. I’ve slowed down, calmed down and have a wonderful support system. I’m so lucky – having good support has made a huge difference in my life.


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