My mum and dad split up when I was about 10, and from then on, I lived with my mum. At about 15, I left school because I had a problem and moved to Pukekohe. My mum sent me out to stay with some family friends, and then I ended up running on the rubbish trucks.

I was working when I was in high school. I used to deliver the newspaper and give a bakery a free one because I thought, ‘If I give them the free paper, they might give me a bit of food one day or something.’

We started to get to know each other, and they offered me a job that started before school. I would wake up really early, go to the bakery and then head to school. Sometimes I worked in the afternoon as the pay was not much. I worked just to get extra pocket money.

In the suburbs, I got into mischief and did the wrong things. I had enough money, but the more money I got, the more problems were created. When I got paid, most of it went into stupid stuff like drink, and drugs.

I escaped to the city streets just to stay clean. I just had enough of the suburbs. That’s where the road started with me.

Coming down to Wellington was a big act of faith. I just trusted in God to leave all the bad stuff behind. It was so beautiful, because coming to something new, without knowing many people, can be quite hard. I think for some people, it can be difficult. There are mental health problems, addictions, and all the ‘dark ground’, you know, that affects their lives because of what they do.

Places like the Soup Kitchen are of great help to many people. They have been amazing and supportive, and they understand and trust us. They have gone above and beyond to help us and others as well.

It’s amazing what they do to feed people. This is huge for someone like me. The staff becomes like family, and we’re so grateful for what they do. Even the clothes they have, the wardrobe is so handy, especially in cold weather. They do it all with love, and that’s what makes it warm and welcoming.

It’s just so beautiful. There’s always a need, and the community needs to open its eyes to it. People just don’t get it, and they think, ‘If they end up on the street, they’ve done something wrong, but they don’t realise that a lot of stuff here is from childhood.’

“The biggest thing for readers to know, it doesn’t matter what walk of life someone comes from. Everyone is different, and everyone needs to feel love, and the Soup Kitchen plays a big part in showing that and making people feel love. People are starving and freezing sometimes. I take my hat off to them for their love and kindness”.

* Our kaupapa is to collate and share the stories of the whānau with respect; this story is compiled from the testimony provided by Spirit.