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Ae Marika: Role Models

Ae Marika!!!
Hone Harawira


Last weekend, me and my mum and her sisters headed down south to Taranaki where my Uncle Haami (Sam) Shelford got married to Kahu Colleen Mahuru from Puniho.

Uncle Haami is a Whakapara boy, with very old school ways about hunting and gathering, personal discipline, cooking, caring for visitors, and respect for women. You can see the hard upbringing in him too, but in all my 50 odd years of knowing him, I’ve never been afraid of him (except when I did something I wasn’t supposed to of course).

Uncle Haami was recently diagnosed with serious diabetes, and his doctor wanted to put him immediately onto a heavy insulin program. Uncle Haami refused. He asked the doctor what he needed to do to, went out and bought a bike, got back into his gardening, and now looks fitter and healthier than ever (and quite a handsome bugger too when he scrubs up and puts a suit on). He beat diabetes with determination, good kai, good health, and large doses of good lovin’ from his wife and his whanau.

Uncle Haami is a bloody good role model, and we’re all proud of him.

I say all this because I’ve been following Whangarei Mayor Stan Semenoff’s comments about gangs and alcohol and violence and broken families in the media over the past couple of weeks, and I suspect that a lot of what he has to say is true.

I also suspect that Uncle Haami might just be the kind of guy that a lot of these young guys need I think.

He’s rough, like them. He enjoys the odd drink or three, like them. He smokes, like them (but none of that funny stuff though). He raised two sons of his own, and both of them turned out real good, and his daughters are awesome too.

And the stories that people told at his wedding reminded me that he’s still got that x-factor that any family, indeed any community, would welcome. So give him a ring Stan. He’s down New Plymouth somewhere.

Sure, it ain’t the only answer, and neither are families the only ones at fault here, but given the complete failure of current practices to turn around some of the more down-and-out families in our community, Uncle Haami’s down-home attitude and go-get-‘em lifestyle might just be what they need.

Oh yeah Stan – when you ring him, don’t tell him I told you. He might wanna give me another clip around the ears!


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