Sida Reihana (Ngapuhi) was happily working last year until he suffered an incident that affected his physical capability which was already compromised. At 36-years-old Sida suddenly found himself unemployed and he started actively searching for a new job plus any courses he could attend to extend his skillset.
After what seemed like a very long time, Sida was successful in finding a job in the Food & Hygiene industry with shift work. However – his new mahi was a good 90 minutes walk from his home and he was on the graveyard shift which started at 2:00 AM. Sida approached Work & Income to see if he could get some transport assistance due to not having a current drivers license. They suggested he catch the bus. Problem was the bus timetable in Sida’s area did not compliment the times he needed to get to and from work.
They then suggested a bicycle and as a proud tane Sida did not want to seem ungrateful, however it was a long ride and he was conscious of arriving at work hot and sweaty and then preparing and serving food. He was going around in circles and starting to get anxious that his employment was at risk due to him being unable to get too and from work in a timely manner that he could afford.
One day Sida finally took his brother’s advice and walked into Te Whānau O Waipareira and met kaiārahi, Peter Ruka.
“My first time at Waipareira I felt more comfortable as you have one-on-one conversations with kaimahi who are confident, with a positive attitude and they are really wanting to help. It was a good experience. Straight away there was a difference in their approach to me. They were welcoming, Peter was friendly and listened, like he really listened to me. Then he introduced me to Cassandra Wallace and within one week they had a solution”.
Sida worked with Peter to put some of his income aside while Cassandra arranged Whānau Direct and combined the two payments to purchase a moped. Sida was blown away. “I couldn’t believe it, it felt like it happened so quickly and they made me feel so…capable again. And now they are helping me to get my (drivers) license back”.
Sida thinks back to when he was unemployed and remembers being anxious and starting to slide into a deep state of depression. Had he have known about the services, the hard work and tenacity of the frontline Waipareira staff, Sida would have gone to them straight away.
“The difference between them and Work & Income is massive. It’s not a hand out, and it’s not drawn out. It’s progress with long term answers – just so different. I felt comfortable with Peter straight away – I knew it was going to be okay.”
So what would Sida say to other whānau looking for some support and guidance?
“You should make the approach. Definitely make the approach. Waipareira look for solutions that work for you, and they work with you to find the one that works. You just need to be open, really open with them and they will help and encourage you in such a supportive and friendly way. It has really changed my life. I am so grateful to them and you know, I am a happier person because of it”.
Sida has employment, transportation and is now reviewing what courses he could attend through Waipareira to up skill himself and continue his journey of growth.