Programme reaching out to help men
As a young man growing up, Turei Marshall was often told he needed to ‘‘harden up’’.
Marshall grew up in a gang - surrounded by alcohol, drugs and violence.
As part of the Man Up Tu Tangata programme, Marshall helps men who’ve lived through similar experiences to turn their lives around. He said Maori and Pacific men came from a culture where they weren’t encouraged to express themselves.
‘‘Growing up we’ve been told to harden up, so we’re trying to tell our men ‘nah, nah don’t harden up - soften up and open up’.
‘‘We harden so much over life that we explode.’’
He wanted to encourage men to face their challenges instead of turning to alcohol and drugs.
Marshall said growing up for him, every week was the same - endless parties filled with drugs, alcohol and abuse.
‘‘When you’ve got beer flowing, you’ve got violence - I knew which aunty was going to be beaten up.’’
Marshall said it was difficult trying to unwrap decades of hurt and the 15-week programme did not promise to change men overnight.
‘‘Everyone’s looking for this magic pill and to be honest this is a journey.’’
With the help of his whanau, Marshall was able to overcome his battle with alcoholism.
Five months ago, Tuakau resident Billy Korewha signed up to Man Up, and quit smoking P, a drug he was hooked on for 20 years.
Korewha said life growing up for him in Franklin was rough.
He said Elder Turei ‘‘has helped me to be a better father, to be a better grandfather’’.
Korewha said he used to drink, smoke dope, steal, lie and cheat.
‘‘I’ve lived the life of a lie for 20 years smoking P, living Jake the Muss-style.
‘‘All the negativity that we learn is a curse that we pass down from generation to generation and now I’m here to say that I’m going to break that cycle for me and my family.’’
Korewha needed positive peer pressure and support to help him overcome his battle, Marshall said.
‘‘Everyday Billy’s gotta wake up and ask do I smoke it (P) or do I not?
Marshall said he doesn’t want to see more Maori and Pacific men locked behind bars. ‘‘They have to build another prison because they don’t know what to do with us.’’
Man Up is run through Destiny’s Church, at Nga Hau E Wha Marae, Pukekohe, 7pm, Thursdays.
Man Up Tu Tangata member Billy Korewha, left and programme leader Turei Marshall.