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This is my journey away and back to Literacy.

(Written by a student at Glen Innes)


I was born and raised in Rotorua. At the age of 15 I did not think I needed any more education. At that age I was classed as a Professional Maori Cultural Performer and all I wanted to do was perform nationally and internationally, which was what I was doing. The pay was great and the contracts for overseas travel were excellent. I was living the dream.Young, free and single!


 Then I met my ex-partner who was raising his 6 year old son. I had an instant family at the age of 17. Then I had our first daughter at the age of 19 and 3 more children over a period of 14 years. My form of income to provide for my family was I operated a successful small business selling Maori arts and crafts.


At the age of 35 I realized that I could not cope with my relationship any longer. It was a very difficult and stressful time in my life. To separate from my ex-partner came at a high cost, losing my business, my home and my children. I was left with just my clothing and my old car. My whole world had been taken from me. I found myself alone and frightened, wondering where to from here? I felt I was at the bottom of the heap, the lowest I could go.



Then I woke up one morning thinking it couldn’t get any worse. With no academic qualifications my job prospects were not great, so I decided I needed to up skill myself and find a good pathway to a profession that I could accomplish. Family members believed I could become a podiatrist. I did not even know what the word meant. I decided to trust in my family’s advice and started my journey on this new adventure. As a result of this mammoth, life changing decision I moved to Auckland to study podiatry at AUT University.


I made a decision that reading, writing and computer skills would be of great value to me. I enrolled at MIT to begin my computer lessons, and am pleased to say I have achieved my first Certificate in Computing Level 2. Then I came across Learning for Adult Literacy and the course was free, How awesome! Just what I needed to help with my reading and writing skills.


At this point in time I have completed 3 essays which are real milestones for me. I have gained more confidence in myself as a writer and in reading. I am so grateful to be given one on one tuition and a tutor that is so dedicated to my learning. Thank you Kathleen for your encouragement, perseverance and faith that I can achieve my future goals.



JOHN is a recovering alcoholic and gambling addict who is currently in a recovery programme. He has many talents, and has got through life by being very good with his hands. Whilst in the recovery programme he was encouraged to learn to read and write. At his first lesson John realised that he was able to read more than he had thought; he could read 50 words. John works very hard at trying to improve his reading and writing and, after 12 weeks, was able to read his first real adult book. He is now planning to do a course at tech.

MEG has been driving for years without a licence, she holds down a responsible job as a physical trainer, which includes mentoring young people. She felt it was time to be a proper role model and work towards getting her drivers licence. She had bad memories of trying to learn as a child, so the thought of trying to do the study for her licence was quite daunting for her. With a one to one tutor she was able to overcome her fears and learn what was needed to get her licence.

MIKE is a 45 year old man who has always felt so inadequate about his reading and writing abilities that whenever he was given a middle management opportunity he would change jobs rather than take the job. This time he didn’t back off, but faced his fears, and is coming to the centre to get help in writing presentations and reports in his new position of responsibility. He still feels it takes him a lot longer than it should, but has the confidence that he can do them.

SHANNON is in her late thirties, and has four children, aged from 2-13. She is concerned about her children’s education and that her poor literacy levels will not be good enough to help them. She left school at 15 and has done manual jobs or jobs that require that she had good people skills, rather than using pen and paper. She comes to a class at the centre, which she enjoys because of the skills she is learning and the confidence she is gaining in her abilities.

DAVID is 22. He has always suffered from ADDH, but was undiagnosed for many years. As a consequence, his schooling suffered badly. He is dyslexic and this, combined with his concentration problems has lead to his having only very basic reading and writing skills. His lack of self worth and inability to get jobs which interested him lead to street drugs as he tried to make himself feel better about his life. He is now trying to clean up his life, and realises that without more education he will not fulfil his potential. He is currently improving his reading and writing through the dyslexia training methods used at the centre and is making good progress.