I’m just a boy from Otara.

As a youngster growing up in South Auckland, I had two different paths set out before me. One was the more familiar route, an easier route. This was the lifestyle of fun, drinking and partying, being seen with the right people in the right places, being in a position of power.

I looked ahead to where this path may lead but I also looked back at my two younger siblings and what this would mean for them. I knew that every step I took would create a path which they might follow.

I chose the second path. The sometimes more difficult path. The one where I had to be careful what I did, where I had to set a good example, and where I actually had to do the things I said. I had to respect my elders and be on time!

My path today has led me to be a brother of a different kind. Leading at Massive, a Friday night programme for the kids in Manukau I get to hang out, feed and have fun with my South Auckland siblings. Partnering together, we are building relationships, empowering one another. We are planting seeds of encouragement. This is something to hold on to in times of struggle when the path they are walking may be tough. After all we are known for being the home of the brave.

I do like to think of myself as humble. I like to believe I can keep reaching for the stars if I keep my feet on the ground.

So I am just a boy from Otara… but I am also a Brother.

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