My family moved to Auckland and I went to Sunnydean School until I was 11, when I moved to Levin Farm (Kimberley Hospital).
I moved to Levin Farm in 1960. The worst thing about being at Levin Farm was “they were trying to have me on that I couldn’t come up to Mangere”, that I might never be allowed out of Levin Farm. The best thing was being “shifted up on the Thursday morning to Mangere and St John’s.” Levin Farm was “too far from my family to go down and it cost petrol every time they went down – it cost them too much money for petrol…”
I was moved out of Levin Farm and came up to St John’s in Papatoetoe in 1966, when I was 17 years old. This was when they opened up Mangere and I wanted to move, but I thought “it wasn’t the suitabilist place for me.”
I lived at St John’s from 1966 to 1991. The food at St John’s “wasn’t very nice – no gravy on it”. Living in the community, I have gravy.
I always wanted to go to Waikaraka Park – to the stock cars – on my own. My Dad was a stock car driver. “I always wanted to go on my own and one of the Kingseat staff said ‘No’ because he thought it was too late at night. I didn’t think it was too late!”
But I did get to go at St John’s because “Trudy would drop me over” and “one of the towies (tow truck drivers) would ring the taxi company and they’d take me back. Yeah, that worked out…”
I was “a lot happier” when I moved up to St John’s. My best memories of St John’s were “Mr Manning (head nurse) was always there when Mum and Dad came, because him and Dad would talk about the fishing.
I moved into Mangere Road with Spectrum care in 1991.
“Where I’m living now is much better, Paula’s a good cook and I do a lot of things on my own like MOTAT and museums, speedway and stock cars… also the airfield at MOTAT, too.”
I go on my own and get there early and wait for them to open. “I get the minders to take me and pick me up again…” I go to the Easter Show, too.
I like doing things on my own. I’ve got a lot of friends in the community and I go to church on Sundays. I look after my own money and bank account, and I have a cell phone.
I have lots of friends in the community. I go to MOTAT, dodgems and stock car racing. I go to work three days a week. Life is much better since leaving St John’s and it’s good now I can do things on my own…
Excerpt from “Extraordinary Journeys – 12 extraordinary people retrace their journeys from institutional care to supported community living…”
Limited numbers of Extraordinary Journeys are available for $20 (+GST).
To order a copy, email the editor – Justin Walsh – by clicking here or call (09) 634 9788.
© Spectrum Care Trust Board
Published by Spectrum Care Trust Board