"Moana House saved my life. It has opened doors that I never thought I could walk through and created endless opportunities for myself. The mission statement "Giving you a real chance" is exactly what I have been given. If you said to me three years ago "I'd be attending university, working at Moana House and getting married" I would have said your dreaming! Fa'afetai tele lava Claire".
"My time with Moana House has been life changing in every sense. I am no longer a slave to my emotions in learning to take responsibility. I have become reliable and more at peace within myself, the community and my family are safe whenever I am around. "I found the love that I had been searching for"".
"Being a graduate of the programme and having the opportunity to work as an Addictions Clinician, has allowed me to become a living example of what can be achieved for residents in the programme".
“A short time after commencing at Moana House, I was encouraged to develop my Pepeha as part of the programme kaupapa for staff and resident’s alike. Being of Anglo-Saxon and European heritage but from many generations ago (my family have lived in Australia for at least 3 generations), this was the first time I had ever properly researched my ancestry – I wasn’t even sure which countries in Europe my family came from!
Doing this research involved internet searches as well as talking to my parents and grandparents, and I thoroughly enjoyed this process in and of itself. Being able to then recite my Pepeha at each Mihiwhakatau both in and out of the Whare, I began to understand on more than an intellectual level the importance of my whakapapa (ancestry) in relation to my overall sense of identity. I say ‘intellectual level’ because being a social worker, and passionate about indigenous health and wellbeing, I was aware of the importance of ones sense of cultural identity in their overall of wellness and connectedness, however not having much of an idea about my own cultural background meant that I couldn’t fully relate to this on a personal level.
Development of my initial Pepeha, and adding to it over time, has allowed me to strengthen this for myself also. Recently, I travelled back to Australia for a holiday, and spent a lot of time in the bush. After reveling in how much I missed the sight of gum trees, wattles, grass trees, the sounds of birds like galahs, cockatoos, kookaburras and magpies, and the general smells of the native bushland I had grown up around, it suddenly struck me that although I had never officially captured my ancestry through writing it down or reciting it, that I did in fact hold a very strong connection to the land around me in my sense of who I am and what grounds me. Those of us in the field are already well aware of the importance of building on the cultural identity of those we work with for their recovery , however this has been a really valuable part of my own journey as Kaimahi at the Whare too.”