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The challenges my children and I have faced have restricted and limited our lives.
For example:

  • Not having enough food to send my kids to school with on a Monday became a regular thing.
  • Having the Police at your front door because my child started to steal cellphones out of kids bags or ditching school to hang at a friend’s place.
  • Having my youngest child want to commit suicide due to having personal issues with myself and his father and feeling displaced.
  • Having no vehicle to take my children anywhere and no license to drive a vehicle in the first place.
  • Moving around New Zealand to find work and wasting money to get there and finding no jobs available.

 

An angry scary lady who was hurt deep inside was what I became.

 

Because of the barriers and life’s challenges we all experienced in such a hostile environment, it’s amazing we are all here still.  We all needed a better way of life and I had to lead my children away from my past.

I never realized that bringing up my kids in such a violent, neglected world had such a huge and negative impact on our lives until we all ended up at a Women’s Refuge at Te Whakaruruhau. Our experiences with Women’s Refuge highlighted these facts and were predominant in our lives, in our hapu (or sub tribe) and iwi.

Raising my four children has been my biggest challenge. I have six children but I only raised my two eldest and my youngest two children. My two middle children were whangai or adopted; one to my mum and dad and the other to my brother and sister-in-law on their father’s side.

It’s now time to sort myself out. I am not settling for just anything either… I want a career. I am following my dreams and improving my family’s quality of living. Our lives have changed from what they once were, to what they can be. But not only for my children and myself but also for my future grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Stephanie

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