“One day it got so bad, that I planned on burning down my room and ending it all. I felt like no one cared about me or what happens to me.”
My name is Matiu Retimana and I am 22 years old. I graduated from the third Tai Wātea programme in 2017.
Live for More has shown me love and the support that I didn’t get as a child. My childhood and upbringing were filled with violence, child abuse, drugs and alcohol. As a child, my father was an alcoholic and was often abusive towards me. I remember feeling scared because I didn’t know why he was so abusive and embarrassed because of the way he treated me in public. I struggled to talk to my dad because of the way he treated me and I felt like no one cared. The school was my only escape. I hated going home but I had nowhere else to go. There was no ending to the violence.
When I did Tai Wātea three years ago, it helped me trust people. I could talk to people who cared and open up to them about my problems because I knew they cared about what I was going through and they did not judge me. I felt way better after this and it made me want to keep coming every week. The programme showed me that there are actually kind people out there who care.
“I wanted to give up and take my life. I was so angry all the time and there was nothing that would take my anger away.”
Since I graduated from the course in 2017, I’ve still had struggles but Live for More has never given up on me. Earlier this year when I was at my lowest, I wanted to give up and take my life. I was so angry all the time and there was nothing that would take my anger away. I didn’t actually want to take my life, I just wanted the pain to stop. I tried smoking heaps of drugs to stop the pain, but that didn’t work. I would smash up my room, hit the walls and windows and break things, but that didn’t work either.
One day it got so bad, that I planned on burning down my room and ending it all. I felt like no one cared about me or what happens to me. But then I thought of Live for More, and all their love and support and how they had never given up on me. I had nothing to lose, so I reached out to them hoping they cared and would help. They messaged me right back and I immediately felt better because I knew someone cared. They offered me support and a listening ear, and then Tamati immediately drove out and picked me up from Matamata.
“I felt accepted, included and loved. I started to feel happier as the days went on, experiencing a life I had never had, full of happiness.”
When Tama picked me up from Matamata, he offered me a safe place to stay with his family and I was able to experience what it’s like to be a part of a loving family. I felt accepted, included and loved. I started to feel happier as the days went on, experiencing a life I had never had, full of happiness.
Live for More also asked me to come along and help out on this Tai Wātea programme as a past graduate. I was excited because I have experienced Live for More and was happy to be back and show the boys what Live for More is actually about. It was also mean getting back in the water because when I’m surfing, all my problems disappear and I see happiness in everyone. Surfing helps me forget everything that I have been through and it makes me feel happy.
It has been a privilege watching these boys grow in confidence and come out of their shells. Seeing where they used to be to where they are now is inspiring. Knowing their struggles and then seeing the joy they get from surfing gives me joy.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Live for More’s support. I am now stoked on life and I am so grateful to still be here. I also now go to church which is my happy place. The people there are so positive and full of joy. I have big plans for the future. I have gotten off the drugs and my plan is to continue on this positive path. I also have dreams now: to travel, to skydive and to break the cycle of violence in my family.