John was born in New Zealand in 1959, though John’s parents came from Manahiki Island, which is one of the Cook Islands. John lived in Grey Lynn with his family until he was five years old.

Around this time, John had an accident and hospital staff placed him in a special children’s home at Birkenhead, where he remained until he was 15.

John then returned to his whanau. John’s sister, Takihei, says that by that time John could speak and do many things for himself. There had been a lot of improvement.

John then started going to the Ranfurly Home (and workshop) in Parnell during the day.

After John’s Mum got sick and passed away, Takihei says he was beaten by his father. When he passed away, the family home had to be sold and Takihei had to fight hard for John to get his share. Then Takihei says another member of their family started beating John.

Takihei was very angry and got some help from a member of her church. They wrote a letter to start the process of finding somewhere else for John to live.

In 1995, at the age of 36, John moved to Mangere Road with Spectrum Care. John now does his own washing and ironing, and also helps with cooking meals – he’s very independent.

John has a full-time job at the Auckland University of Technology, where he works doing the lawns, weed-eating, cleaning windows, mopping the floors, and washing and drying the dishes.

On the weekends, John goes busking, with his bucket, flute and Cook Island regalia. John’s very well known and makes a lot of money. Everyone at the town centre knows John and they call out to him as they pass, “Hi John… Hey John…”

John has lived a life with his whanau, in an institution and now in a group home. He has experienced abuse from some family members, but also great love and support from his sister, Takihei.

John is ready to live on his own. He wants his own home.

He has friends in the community, a job, and his own interests. John is his own man, making his own money and decisions about what he does from day to day. He has a number of routines that enable him to look after himself and he wants the opportunity to do just that – to be free.


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© Spectrum Care Trust Board
Extraordinary Journeys
Published by Spectrum Care Trust Board