Terangi had come to the attention of the authorities in an earlier, violent relationship. As a result her children were moved into impermanent care. Pregnant and very keen to make sure she didn’t have the same outcome this time, Terangi worked very, very hard to turn her life around. With the support of Home & Family there is now no state involvement with her, her partner and their children.
“I had a history with domestic violence with my ex-husband. Because of that my older children were permanently placed with Child, Youth and Family. I battled with how things were. At the time I had a drug problem. It was my main source of making myself feel better about my problems. And I had started drinking; it would numb me so I didn’t feel anything. After the earthquakes I left my husband, I stopped drinking, doing drugs; that was it. I’d had enough.
“Later that year I fell pregnant. My partner didn’t believe that I was pregnant so I took two pregnancy tests to show him. I put them both on the table and left the room. When I went back he was crying, and angry, he went bananas, he left and I never saw him for three days and he came back absolutely drunk and attacked me. I thought that’s it, I’m out of here. It’s about me and my child, I’ll bring up my baby on my own.
“So I left that relationship, I would have been about 10 weeks pregnant and I quit my job. Pregnancy was great up until the point CYFs decided to come and uplift my daughter. She was uplifted from my care just after her heel prick, 24 hours after I had given birth to her.
“I had been told about Home & Family by a very close family member who told me “You have to go into Home & Family to get our baby back”. After two months I was able to come to live at the Home & Family house.
“I was in a new relationship with my partner, and even though there was no domestic violence in our relationship we had to have supervised access, when he was coming, if he was allowed to stay for tea, to put Huia down to bed. We worked through all of it, even though it was really hard, specially for him.
“With the help of Home & Family we were able to prove that we were a good family and eventually we moved across the road (into one of the Home & Family flats). It was a week before Christmas and I was finally allowed to have my partner and my daughter home. I was pregnant with Terangimarie and there was no way anyone else but my partner was going to be taking me to the hospital. And he did. The four of us lived there and we made it our home.
“Home & Family has given us so much. After the six weeks had been and gone, and the six months had been and gone, they’ve given us not just their time, but their knowledge and their care. My culture was honoured from the time I walked into this house. I have learned heaps of tools that I can use with my parenting. Now I have the older children in my care every school holidays. If I had known about this agency when I had my older children I would have definitely come here to keep them in my care.
Now Terangi, Tama and the girls are living in their own home, Tama is in full time employment and they have a support network around them.
“I think about the girls, how far we’ve come along. At the end of the day, I’m here for my daughters, my daughters come first. It’s gone from them thinking about uplifting Terangimarie, to then thinking no, she’s at Home & Family with Huia, to then reducing the custody to a support order, and now being able to wipe the support order and give me back my full custody. I can say I did it, even though all the hurdles were stuck in my family’s way. We did it, we did it together as a family unit, with the assistance of Home & Family. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have what we’ve got now.