EX-P dealer help­ing oth­ers re­sist

Manawatu Standard - - News - PAUL MITCHELL

He used to help peo­ple feed their P ad­dic­tion, but now this Palmer­ston North gang mem­ber hopes to help them kick it.

Te Kai Po Ahuriri, a for­mer drug-dealer and P addict, turned his life around af­ter al­most dy­ing Since then he has thrown him­self into char­ity work.

The gang mem­ber be­came a lo­cal celebrity af­ter his gen­eros­ity to­wards the city’s home­less com­mu­nity was cap­tured on video last year.

His lat­est project is set­ting up a walk-in clinic, for peo­ple af­fected by P, with New Zealand ‘‘P’’ Pull, a sup­port group set up by ex-ad­dicts.

The Raukawa District Maori War­dens have given the clinic space in their Palmer­ston North head­quar­ters on Grey St. Ahuriri plans to get the clinic up and run­ning in the next week.

Ahuriri was a P-addict for 16 years. P Pull’s Porirua walk-in clinic helped Ahuriri get clean and stay clean for a year and half now.

He was proud to set up the group’s Palmer­ston North clinic and wanted to make sure ev­ery Manawatu¯ addict got the sup­port he did.

Ahuriri said there was nowhere in the city peo­ple af­fected by, or ad­dicted to, P could just walk into and get con­fi­den­tial help with­out get­ting has­sled.

‘‘P is the eas­i­est drug to get on the streets th­ese days and it’s the most de­struc­tive. But peo­ple are afraid to talk about it be­cause they don’t want to be la­belled narcs.’’

The clinic would pro­vide ways for peo­ple to ask ques­tions anony­mously and seek ad­vice about their sit­u­a­tion, Ahuriri said.

He hit The Square on Fri­day to drum up aware­ness for the new clinic, with an eye-catch­ing dis­play of flags and anti-p ban­ners.

Sharn Cas­sady, from Lev­in­based com­mu­nity group Life to the Max, was lead­ing a dozen at-risk Horowhenua teens on a day-trip to the city when she spot­ted the dis­play.

The trip was just sup­posed to be some hol­i­day fun, but the kids had clicked with Ahuriri, whose story and ex­am­ple were a valu­able ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for them, she said.

‘‘I’m glad we came past. I think it was meant to be.’’

Ahuriri said he knew he had a lot to make up for. He’d caused a lot of harm and vi­o­lence as a drug dealer and crim­i­nal.

‘‘I see the last names of th­ese young­sters [rob­bing] dairies in the pa­per and I think ‘hell, their par­ents used to be my clients’.

‘‘I was part of the rea­son they had less grow­ing up, why there was no food in the cup­board.’’

Ahuriri said he hoped see­ing some­one like him do­ing good would in­spire ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing gang mem­bers, to do the same.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/STUFF

Ex-addict and P dealer Te Kai Po Ahuriri will launch a a walk-in ad­dic­tion sup­port clinic in Palmer­ston North next week.

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