At the heart of PARS’ ecology of care, Pā Tūwatawata, is empowerment through identity by providing a spiritual, cultural and physical base for our whānau to “Kia Tū Tangata Ai!”, to stand tall in their full potential! And today, Krishna is doing just that.
Born in Fiji, Krishna had what he calls a pretty good childhood. He has loving parents and two sisters; one older and one younger than him. The family moved to Aotearoa when he was a young boy and settled in South Auckland. School was far from a positive experience though, and by his teenage years he was smoking and wagging. He was also being bullied and beaten up, and to prove he wasn’t weak, he started standing up for himself and others who were being picked on.
Leaving school at 17, Krishna landed a good job with Chorus, but at 18 he was in a car accident which left him with permanent physical scars and out of work. He drifted through a few other jobs, including working for a mechanic and installing security systems, and attended ATC Military Prep School for six months.
When Krishna, who is now 22, was 19, his family moved Australia. He opted to stay here to support his girlfriend who was having a rough time at home, but their relationship was volatile. They argued a lot, and Krishna started to become isolated from family and friends. Getting into the clubbing scene and hanging out with the wrong crowd led to drugs, poor decisions, brushes with the law and, ultimately, a period of imprisonment. During his time in prison, Krishna’s family flew back to visit him three times, and his dad chose to stay in Aotearoa over lockdown in order to be close to his son.
Being released is a vulnerable time for anyone, but PARS came at the right time with the right kind of support to help Krishna get on a more positive path towards achieving the future he aspires to. He’s acutely aware that it would have been easy to slip back into poor decision making and hanging out with the wrong crowd and says, “I’m so lucky PARS was there for me. If it wasn’t for PARS, I would be right back at square one”.
PARS’ Te Ohomai service specialises in preventing rangatahi and young adults like Krishna from entering the justice system, or when they are in it already, to get out and stay out. His PARS support worker helped with all the day-to-day things like getting his driver licence and dealing with Work and Income, but they also supported him on a much deeper level with the things that really matter to him as a unique individual with dreams and aspirations of his own. In practical terms, this included support like arranging for his bail conditions to be changed to allow him to do the sporting activities that he knows are critical to his mental and physical wellbeing – soccer and martial arts.
Today, Krishna says his parents know they can trust him to make good decisions for himself. He is closer than ever to his family, and they talk every day. His mum is really unwell and he just wants to be nearer to her, but until the time he can freely move to Melbourne, Krishna is focussed on becoming his best self. “When I land in Melbourne, I want to land on a strong foot!”.
Through all of his ups and downs, Krishna kept contact with some of his old friends, and two of his mates went to court with him recently as moral support. With strong and constructive relationships in his life, plus the support and encouragement of PARS and a much more positive mindset, Krishna says he now has so much to look forward to. Realising his own full potential in the future includes buying an excavator and starting his own contracting business in Australia, and with all he has learnt in his time with PARS, this now feels like an achievable reality!
Krishna’s support worker sees him as a dedicated, hard working and resilient young man who has put his best foot forward since engaging in PARS’ service. “He knows what his goals are in life and strives to achieve them each and every day. From the first time that we met Krishna, he has worked diligently towards building the foundations for his future, needing very little encouragement to get him back on track. I look forward to seeing Krishna achieve his dreams and build an amazing future for him and his whānau.”