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.

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