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of Hope

The parents who come to us for help want better for their children but need help to break negative intergenerational cycles of poverty, violence and abuse.

After more than 14 years working in the community, Te Whakaora Tangata has worked with over 2,000 families in South Auckland and the Far North, benefitting up to 7,000 vulnerable children.

to learn more about the legacy of hope our community whānau now have with the support of our programmes.

Watch below to see more stories of hope.


Rob’s Story of Change

Rob was involved in the gang life and crime, in and out of prison; he completed 78 programmes through the prison system but nothing worked. He was mentored through Te Whakaora and saw his family restored, and his drug habits broken. Rob is now a business owner who is giving back to the community and mentoring other young men.

Lionel & TeMaria

Lionel & Te Maria’s Story of Hope

Far North couple, Lionel and TeMaria, were desperate for change for their family. Lionel was unemployed and they were living in his van; methamphetamine was ruling their lives and their children had been removed from their care. Things changed dramatically after they began working with Te Whakaora Tangata…


Portrait of happy Maori woman at home.

Generational Change: Āwhina’s story

“I never knew what hope was, what faith was, or what trust was. I knew the words, but I didn’t know what they were. That’s what this programme has instilled—those little words that I heard but didn’t know.”

“Before Te Whakaora, life was hell. I’d be lucky to go three days without being beaten. I was willing to do anything to be loved…I can’t remember how many times I passed out from being strangled. I remember running to my daughter’s room once because I knew if I was alone, I would die.”

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From depression and abuse to fully restored

“I honestly didn’t even think I’d get to 50 (years of age). I had no hope. Now, I’m just so thankful and I want to share my story with my family and people I meet because if I can be healed, then anyone can.”

Please be aware, that there are some details in the story below which may be difficult for some people to read.

Naomi remembers being abused for the first time when she was just 4 years of age. Her Father removed her from her grandparents (who had raised her up until that point) and her life took a traumatic turn from that point on. The sexual abuse began at age 7 and would continue for the next 10 years. The level of trauma Naomi suffered at the hands of her closest family members is horrifying.

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HoldingHands large lighter

Breaking the Cycle

“As a young girl I ended up in CYF care, dealing with abuse… I felt helpless, like I was locked in a closet. I had no voice… I was getting A’s at high school but started smoking, wagging and drinking. I ran away and slept in an old brewery.
“My ‘knight in shining armour’ (or so I thought) was 25 when I met him, I was 15. I will always remember that first hiding – he got real angry and threatened to throw me off a three story building… Rag-dolled me, smacked me around and there it was. The first of many severe beatings and other abusive relationships.
“Addictions played a part in my destruction. CYF gave me a chance to get a plan in place [for my kids], but two days later I was back drinking again… [Then] last year I was at the laundry in Manurewa when CYF and the police pulled up outside in a white van and uplifted my kids. The kids were crying, with [wild fear] in their eyes… I felt lost. And guilty. It was the biggest wake up call.
“I was doing community service for drink driving and was able to do some PD hours helping at the [Te Whakaora’s] Family Restoration course graduation. I saw whanau from very hard backgrounds – those society would throw in the wheely bin – and I saw the change in them. I was blown away. I thought this far outweighs any [programme] out there in the community. I was like a baby who sees kai on the table and will do anything to get it. When I finished PD I was given the opportunity to do what my heart was yearning for – the Family Restoration course.
“Te Whakaora helped me see the patterns in my life. A lightbulb went off in my head. I won’t allow my past to be lived in my own whanau – I want to break that cycle.
“I’ve been on a powerful physical, emotional and spiritual journey. I’m feeling extremely excited about my future. I’m so close to getting my children back and Te Whakaora has helped me get a full-time job!
Now I can teach my tamariki to be strong. I see a prosperous future for my whanau.”

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Families From New Zealand.

Wāhine Toa: Marama’s Story

“What you see standing before you is definitely a Wāhine Toa. But it wasn’t always like this.
“I became a child of the state because my parents weren’t ready to be parents at that time. At the age of 6 through to 12, I was sexually abused by four men in my foster whānau. At the age of 14 I started indulging in substances, and at the age of 15 I met a man 10 years older, and that relationship was toxic – in its most dangerous form – domestic violence. During that time, twice I self-harmed (attempted suicide). Yeah, I know what that looks like. I was beaten black and blue.
“I sit on 29 years of drug and alcohol addiction. That was my “go to”, my band-aid, because I didn’t want to look at life the way I do now – through sober eyes. I always wanted to get wasted because I was putting everything that happened to me under the carpet. But what happens behind closed doors eventually reveals itself.
“I lost my mokopuna and my tamariki because of my lifestyle. The day that my tamariki, my mokopuna left my side, I felt so empty inside. I said to myself “I need to get help.” And that’s where it started for me.
“I tautoko Te Whakaora Tangata all the way. When I met them, I thought to myself, wow there’s something about this whānau Te Whakaora Tangata that is completely different, that I felt within my wairua, compared to a lot of other organisations. I sat in blame and shame and everything else that I carried, but this programme gave me that voice where I was able to say that I can have a better life.
“I’ve tried a lot of stuff, but I’m not about glorifying my past, I’m about glorifying my future. Whatever your future may look like, anything is possible and achievable. It’s just up to you, and you can create an amazing future.”

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