It’s not often you get a chance to make a new start in life when you’re 70, but that is how Mike*, who was recently deported from Australia, looks at the events that have changed his life so dramatically in his retirement years.
The father of five and grandfather of seven left New Zealand when he was 25 for Australian shores, where he built a life with whānau, business and community. A few ‘wrong turns’ saw him serving a six-year prison term on drug charges. He was then transferred to detention centre and deported back to New Zealand a month later.
His story, unfortunately, is not unique for a deportee but his attitude toward re-establishing his life is.
With his partner, who has joined him from Australia, he has settled in a rural area north of Auckland. He would still like to be able to return back to visit family – and is appealing his visa revocation so he can – but plans to stay here permanently.
‘I love New Zealand. It’s a beautiful country and we can make a good life for ourselves here.’
PARS worked with Mike to find accommodation where he wanted to live and set him up with the social services he needed.
‘I am so impressed with PARS – they have helped me enormously. I knew no one and had nothing but they have been there for me, no matter what. I couldn’t have done anything without their support.’
His adult children in Australia pitched in to buy him a second-hand car. With a new home, some wheels and a new life, he says he couldn’t be happier.
As keen gardeners, Mike and his partner plan to grow veges and do seasonal horticultural work to supplement their pensions.
‘I just want to live a good life. We just want peace and to live out the rest of our days in this beautiful place.’
*Not actual name for anonymity purposes.