Officially, it’s my wife and I and our dog living here. But we have three children and four grandchildren. And I’m Ng puhi and Ng ti Kahu, so when all my relations come they come in three mini buses. It’s a big house, it has to be. Five bedrooms.
This is a haven, a place of peace. Being an entertainer, I’m out gigging all the time. Jazz, R&B, SparkleBall – whatever’s going…
My day job is working at the prison in the M ori focus unit, teaching numeracy, literacy, te reo and tikanga M ori. We’re lucky, in our part of the prison the men are really motivated, they’re wanting to learn, they’re reconnecting with identity and culture. We’re not reinventing the wheel: knowing where you come from is what you need to keep yourself safe and not come back to jail.
You’ve got to be able to offer hope. You do that in ways that touch people. Music comes in handy.
We teach tika, pono and aroha – what is right, what is true and doing things with love. Love doesn’t always mean a hug, it can mean being brutally honest. If you live those values at home you can bring them to work.
My dad died in a truck accident and then Mum died a couple of years later of a broken heart. It was a real relationship with ups and downs, but there was love there. All of a sudden I was the eldest and I try to keep those values going about taking care of people. Trying to be a stable presence – not just for the grandchildren, but for all of them.
My wife Kinena is a P keh from Invercargill. She’s the eldest too, we’re two bossy firstborns. Kinena manages the deli at New World, so there’s always kai. She works really hard. I swan in and out of prison talking about music and transformational change and she comes home and says: “God, I’ve been on my feet all day. I’m stuffed.”