I have five brothers and three sisters. My younger sister is living in Tauranga. My Dad has passed on. My Mum and my niece live together now, and I keep in contact with my Mum.
I grew up with my family, but didn’t get along with my brothers and sisters and got up to lots of mischief. I used to take off and couldn’t settle at home, so I lived on the street and would get brought home by police. I’d take off again and got into small crimes.
My family didn’t know how to deal with me, so they put me into an institution.
I was locked up in Mt Eden prison before going to Kingseat.
At Kingseat, I didn’t have any freedom – being locked in all the time – and this was the worst thing for me. It’s not living in a house, a house is different. It’s open and you can walk out of the house when you feel like it…
At Kingseat, you had to go to bed at a certain time. I had a room with a bed on the fl oor and they used a key to get in. They always locked it at night. I was locked in a bedroom.
I used to run away from Kingseat. Kingseat was horrible for me. I used to sleep out in the community and it was scary. Then I’d get into trouble with the Police. I was in a bad way, locked in all the time. That’s why I ran away.
Kingseat wasn’t the right place for me. I’ve been through a lot of institutions. After Kingseat, my mother put me in St John’s in Papatoetoe. We slept in dormitories with lots of beds. I also lived at Carrington and Oakley Hospitals, locked in all the time. You didn’t have freedom in the institutions.
After I left the institutions, I went to live in a house in Manukau and now Mangere Bridge. There are five of us flatmates living together at Mangere Bridge. We’re all from the Pacific Islands. I like my flatmates.
There’s more freedom living in a house in the community. I decide when I get up in the morning. I don’t like anyone to stop me going out. I go out every day.
I go gallivanting around… Normally I go out quite a lot on my own. I go to Manukau City and look around the shops and go out for coffees. I also go to church in the weekends…
I go to Faith City church in Manukau – sometimes I go at night. I do all sorts and take the bus home.
I set my own goals and I decide who comes to meetings about my goals. I choose what I’ll tell people and what I won’t.
The best thing about living where I live now is I can go out anytime I want. I have freedom. I’d like more privacy and more friends, but it’s much better than living in an institution. Lucky I’m in Spectrum (Care) now… I’m quite happy where I am.
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