Recovering addict pledges his life to serving others in 2020

By Tema Hemi

Jason Tereva of Ngāti Maniapoto and Cook Island decent is a product of the state care services in New Zealand. For most of his life Tereva has had to contend with being moved to multiple state service homes, and has battled with alcohol and drug addiction.

But Tereva has left that life behind him and on this, the last day of 2019, he's focused on a new life for himself, one that he has found doing voluntary work for the Salvation Army in Wellington. 

The turning of the old soil that marks a new beginning for the new year coming. 

Tereva says, "Love this life that I have now. It’s a new life. I like helping people now before I used to take of people and didn't care about my victims but now my God has changed my life totally."

Tereva says that he has come a long way in turning his life around and is determined not to go back to his old self.

"Institutionalised most of my life. From foster homes to family homes, boys homes to jail.

“Yeah about maybe 85% of my life I've been in institutions. Family were pretty much into the heavy scene of drugs and alcohol."

Turi Te Hira was working for the Ministry of Education before he had a massive stroke in July 2018 that left him with a speech impairment. Te Hira says the voluntary work has helped with his recovery. 

Te Hira says, "I’ve been doing a lot of things to help me and part of that is working with Jason, Malcom and Surge, and Wayne and some other people."

Malcom Rerekura is of the Whanganui River and has also battled his own demons. He's been sober and of drug free for the last 12 months and says he's got plenty of reasons for wanting to change his life.

"My goal is to have stable accommodation where I can start being independent again. And just focusing on me, myself, my future and my children. Because my recovery and my children are my goals."

Major Corps Officer David Bennett says the majority of families he sees on a daily basis at the Salvation Army's central Wellington base, are Māori or Pacific Islanders. 

Bennett says, "We try and work it, so that we are not in any way crossing ethnicity boundaries, or doing things that are inappropriate for their ethnicity.

“So we try to work with folks that we have as close as we can."

Tereva adds, "The thing is for me is that I don’t need that stuff anymore. Because I’ve got the church and I’ve got the volunteer work and I’ve got a good God that watches over my back.”

Tereva says his main goal for the new year is to keep up the voluntary work and one day hopes to do missionary work overseas.