“My mother was my protector, supporter and believed in me. Sport became my escape from reality and shielded me from becoming a target at home. I grew up in Mangere, always had food on the table and never felt like I missed out. I have been working with young people since 1996 and been focussing on youth offenders since 2001. Everyone thought I was crazy but I always saw it as a challenge as opposed to a problem. I was confident in my skills learned through my time in the Armed Forces, playing sport and working with young people. My passion and commitment continues to drive me, and the young people we work with motivate me.
I believe all young people have a voice and those that offend can be salvaged. Building more prisons is counter-productive, expensive and a waste of human life. We need to give our young people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and support their transition into adulthood. We should never give up on them and persevere through the good and rough times. For them to believe in themselves they need us.”