“I was raised in a large whānau filled with aroha. My parents were very caring people and all eight of us kids were raised to have incredibly strong values around caring for others. It’s called Manaakitanga in Maori. Although I grew up in a loving environment we were extremely poor, yet even that didn’t mean we couldn’t care for others. My mum was always taking care of her wider family.
My mum was Maori and my dad was Indian/Irish. My dad was a hard worker but he made us work too. I had to work part-time when I was ten years old. My brothers and I went to a tomato farm until 10pm at night. I earned 20c a week and back then it was huge money. My dad taught me about giving. I had to pay board of 10c, give some to my siblings, and the rest was my own. We opened bank accounts and had to bank some money as well.
These values are being passed on now to my seven grandchildren. Everyone has their chores to do and must look after each other. We are building a strong work ethic in our grandchildren of sharing roles and working hard, but most importantly caring for people and not expecting to be given anything back.”