Massive thank you and shout out to DMS Progrowers Charitable Trust for their donation of $15,000 to Live for More this year! We so appreciate the support from you all over the years and we love how you guys give back to the local community! You guys are amazing!
My name is Te Aotawhito Matariki Rikiti Thomas. I’m 18 years old and I’m From Arataki and little place up by the tech arena called Mangatawa.
As a kid, my life was good, but with the good things in my life came the bad. I was raised by my Grandmother and she gave me all I could ever ask for. She’s also was the one who taught me right from wrong. I lived with my parents for a few years of my life growing up and as I look back now, I know they did the best they could with me and I’d like to thank them for that.
As I reached age 13 to 14, I was exposed to drugs, alcohol, gangs and more violence than I could imagine.
As I reached age 13 to 14, I was exposed to drugs, alcohol, gangs and more violence than I could imagine. My grandmother was getting older and so was I. As a teenager, I was given freedom. My Grandmother gave me barriers to that freedom, but as a foolish teenager I broke those barriers. We stayed on a little hill called Mangatawa where I grew up. On that hill I had all my older cousins around. With older cousins, came bigger and badder influences.
Going out at night, I used to tell my Grandmother I was staying at Uncle’s, Aunty’s, or my cousins houses. Little did she know, I was roaming around Arataki, the Mount, Tauranga and Te Puke looking for the next party to drink at. With parties, came drinking, smoking drugs and violence. I loved every single one of those things because I thought it was cool. I carried on doing all these things without my two families knowing the slightest bit of it.
Fast forwarding my life to year 11/12 during school. As a senior in school, I didn’t do too bad. Some part of me loved school and another didn’t. I dropped out of Te Wharekura o Mauao school at year 12 and after that came my lost days.
As I was lost, I wasn’t really trying to do anything with my life. I was just going with the flow, and the flow was a negative one. I tried other courses and they didn’t work out for me. I was still stuck in my ways of drinking, fighting, using drugs and violence.
I didn’t really get a reality check until mid June of this year, on the day my Grandmother passed away. After her passing, I went on a few weeks of causing damage to myself and trying to inflict it on others. I was lost even more with no one to lean on.
I think a month after my Grandmother who had raised me passed away, my grandparents on my mother’s side took me in. It was a hard one for me to take because I didn’t want my other grandparents having to put up with my bullshit, when I knew that they had already had to bring up my other siblings and cousins.
I ended up moving in with them though, and they also gave me everything I could ask for. The only thing I wasn’t coping with was me still being stuck in my ways. I was still going out, doing drugs and still looking for a way to cope with my pain and being lost.
That was until 13 September, the day Jared and Krista knocked on my door looking for my older brother. They had come other times for him, but he was never around. It was the last time they had come to look for him and he still wasn’t home, so they offered me a chance at starting my journey to find my purpose in life. I also felt like I was being given another chance in making my family proud of me again.
Since being on Tai Wātea, they’ve helped me out a lot. I found people I could trust, lean on, feel comfortable around and so much more.
This program has taught me that I don’t have to do the bad things I was shown in life. I CAN do better. I CAN make it. I CAN be successful. I CAN do the better things I wanna do in life.
This program has taught me that I don’t have to do the bad things I was shown in life. I CAN do better. I CAN make it. I CAN be successful. I CAN do the better things I wanna do in life. Not only was it Aisha’s and Jared’s talks to us boys when they shared their life journeys, but it was the whole Tai Wātea program that taught me to put away that feeling of “I can’t.”
Before Tai Wātea, I was just a lost little boy, stuck in a hole. Where some people told me you could only dig deeper, meeting these wonderful people at Tai Wātea showed me that there was another way out, and that way was UP!
I am now currently on a path to being Drug free. Before I joined Tai Wātea, I was smoking weed every day. I had never gone a day without it since I had started smoking when I was 13. I’m proud to say now that I have only smoked once in the past month!
A few weeks ago, the brother Sean signed me up at Flex fitness Gym on Newton Road. Having the gym has helped me get a new routine, one that is healthy. I’ve swapped out drugs for the gym. I feel much more active and healthier.
I’m also looking at getting my drivers license. After Tai Wātea finishes this year, I will be doing the IBA program next year with a couple of the brothers here today. I will also be doing the LSV programme down in Burnham, Christchurch, and I have already signed up for this. I am really looking forward to that because it will help me learn discipline and to gain a new perspective in life. I will also meet heaps of new people.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my family first… my Nanny Gran who passed this year, my grandparents, my parents, my sister and my cousins. Because if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today.
I would also like to thank the whole Live for More team, from the volunteers to the staff, as well as the sponsors of Live for More, for making this course possible for boys like me.
My name is Jamie Gates. I am 23 years old. I come from a small town called Tauranga, also known as the Bay of Plenty. As a child, I was uplifted from mum when I was 5 years old. I was transferred into a foster home with dozens of different families who had come from similar situations to mine. The foster home was called Homes of Hope and I was there for six years. There were a lot of ups and downs in the home, because there was always so much change and there was never a stable lifestyle. But ultimately I did find a family in the home. However, growing up in the foster home was very difficult at times because I didn’t have contact with my mother on a day-to-day basis. I didn’t get to spend much time with my mother outside of the foster home. I still really loved my mum and she was always there for me in the ways she could be. I just wanted to grow up in a household with a normal family.
I didn’t get to spend much time with my mother outside of the foster home. I still really loved my mum and she was always there for me in the ways she could be. I just wanted to grow up in a household with a normal family.
Heading to the age of 11, major change happened again. There was a lovely woman called CJ from the foster home who was keen to take my brother and I into her care permanently. This lasted for a couple of months and it was awesome. I got to live a life I wanted to live and I was really happy. However, after these few months, CJ began to fall ill.
She wasn’t able to keep us in her care permanently as planned, so my brother and I were placed back into the system. So then, over the next 4 to 5 years, my brother and I were constantly moved around different homes, probably over 100 houses. I remember having my bag of stuff and constantly moving. Some days we were moving into a new house every single day. It was traumatising to move in with a random stranger every night, sleep in their bed, eat their food, shower in their shower.
Throughout this time, I distracted myself with sports, drugs and alcohol. I wanted to erase this pain I felt of not belonging anywhere. My brother and I felt like outcasts because we didn’t have a sense of belonging.
This all lead to me running away when I was 16 years old, the reason being that I was in a house – but it wasn’t a HOME. I was surrounded by people there but still felt very alone. Even though I had been there a couple of years, I still felt like I didn’t belong. When I ran away, I was searching for a sense of belonging and connection.
I ran away to Te Puke, where I was living with partner at the time. I was living with her family and working in kiwifruit. I distracted myself with work to try and forget about my past. I held so much animosity within myself towards life in general, because life had been so unfair.
Fast forward to the beginning of this year. I was working a 9-5 job but feeling like I had no real purpose in life. When lockdown hit, I had to move and ended up back in Tauranga with no job. I then came into contact with Live for More, through a good mutual friend.
I decided to give the programme a go. I was a bit hesitant at first, but then I met Jared and Sean from Live for More. They showed up to my house one day with big smiles and a positive attitude, and then I just knew that Live for More would be a great opportunity for me.
I’ve found many friendships on this course that will last a lifetime outside of course. The brotherhood on this programme has made me feel like I am part of something bigger. I have found a sense of belonging at Live for More, and a sense of something greater than myself.
Live for More has helped me gain confidence within myself and empowered me to do much better in life. I have learnt perseverance and now I ALWAYS try. Even if I fail, I keep trying because I know I can and will succeed eventually, even where others failed. Like in surfing, you know you might get washed up on a wave, but you have to persevere, get back up and keep on going.
Surfing has really helped me clear my mind, especially if I have been having a rough day. Being out on the water for me is very therapeutic because I can think clearly and experience true freedom, which helps my mind, body and soul remain healthy.
Surfing has really helped me clear my mind, especially if I have been having a rough day. Being out on the water for me is very therapeutic because I can think clearly and experience true freedom, which helps my mind, body and soul remain healthy. All of that maximises my surf session. When I’m out on the waves, I don’t just think about catching the waves. Surfing and catching the waves actually helps me through my problems and struggles, without any distractions.
Overall, this programme has helped me in massive ways. I probably would be in a bad space right now if I hadn’t enrolled on this course. I’m proud to say I’m in a much better space now than I was before. I know that I have a purpose in life now. And I know that after this course, I will continue to do well and spread positivity around in my everyday life.
Lastly, I would like to give a big thank you to Live for More, the staff team behind it and all the volunteers who come and help us surf. Also, thank you so much to everyone who is here tonight supporting us for our graduation. I appreciate the time and energy that’s been put into everything that we’ve done on this course.
My name is William Te Rauhea Brown. I am 23 years young. Before joining Live for More, I wasn’t living life to the potential that I could have been. I was smoking drugs that were holding me back from being motivated and doing things that I love. My mind was in a dark space trying to regather the light, but my surroundings were putting it on hold. I was fighting a battle within myself.
I was quite hesitant to trust and believe what they had to say about the outcomes, but day by day I grew to trust and see that Live for More can help change a person.
I had heard about Live for More from friends and whānau who had graduated Tai Wātea. I was quite hesitant to trust and believe what they had to say about the outcomes, but day by day I grew to trust and see that Live for More can help change a person. They’ve helped change me.
One of the biggest changes has been my state of mind. I’m thinking much more positively now. Before I was mad at the world, and I felt like I was stuck in a mental prison. But now, I feel like the world is my oyster and I’ve learnt how to balance my mental health using my physical wellbeing. I feel stronger as a person and I feel like I know who I am now.
The programme has also provided good opportunities for me to pursue a career path. It’s always been my dream to be in the army. My older brother had tried to join the army but couldn’t because of medical conditions. I wanted to be in the army for us both, since he couldn’t live out his dream. Live for More has motivated me to push myself towards my goals and I am now on path to pursue the army. I have been accepted onto a full-time services and defence career pathways course at Toi Ohomai, which will prepare me for intake into the army. This course starts on July 19th and I’m eager to get started!
Another big achievement for me on Tai Wātea has been to push myself to improve my physical health. I’ve stopped smoking cigarettes and I feel really proud about this because it puts me another step forward in life. Being on Tai Wātea has helped build structure for my life and I’m now exercising daily and doing fitness to help build my cardio and stamina. I have also minimised my drug use and my goal is to totally give up the drugs in the long-run.
On Tai Wātea, I’ve learnt that “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to ride them.”
This programme has also increased my self-discipline, helped bring so many positive connections into my life, as well as increased my motivation. On Tai Wātea, I’ve learnt that “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to ride them.” Like in life, you can’t go head on into challenges… sometimes you have to go with the challenges and ride them out!
I’d like to thank every individual who’s helped me on my journey to get to where I am. I’d also like to acknowledge the brothers. It has been a privilege to grow with each one of you for the past eight weeks on Tai Wātea. I hope all of us boys can persevere and keep paddling into those waves.
A big thank you to Live for More and everything that they have done and all the lives that they have helped and changed. Thank you Krista, Jared, Sean, Aish, Dave, Bryan, Tama, Diego, Ben, Tash and all our speakers. LIVE FOR MORE!!!
We want to say a massive thanks to Carol and the Rotarians at the Papamoa/Te Puke Rotary Club. They recently held a “Kitchen Takeover” where each fellow Rotarian hosted a meal in their homes inviting friends/colleagues/neighbours, with all the proceeds being generously donated to Live for More. They raised an incredible $6,167.00. Such an incredible and innovative idea! THANK YOU so much for all your hard work and effort, we are very grateful for the support it means so much to us.
Live for More would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Tauranga City Council for their grant to us for $30,000 to go towards our Tai Tautoko surf therapy programmes! We are so honoured and stoked to get this support and it means heaps knowing there are people truly believing in the work we are doing. Thank you TCC!