Very soon I will be shifting into my own Whare. Housing New Zealand have offered me a house and it is awesome. I am looking forward to a bright future.

John didn't have a good upbringing, to be precise it was an upbringing that you and I may not have survived. Having not had the best chance in life John was, (and still is) a very vulnerable person. John sadly found himself in prison a few years ago. 

John was advised that if he wanted to survive prison he should fake a mental illness and get into a medical wing. John did this. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia for which he was prescribed anti-psychotics.

John arrived at the shelter (having been homeless for years), still prescribed anti-psychotics, with an incredible shake not dissimilar to Parkinson’s.

John did not know why he shook so much or why he just toppled over at any given time, so we booked an appointment with his GP who John had been seeing regularly for years. I introduced myself and asked the Doctor why John shook so? I don't know said the Doctor but let’s put him on some vitamins.

I wasn't sure that vitamins were going to resolve this issue and wondered why no one was looking any deeper. I also wasn't sure why John was on anti-psychotics. Having worked with Mental Health Services for some years I could see none of the usual symptoms that I would expect to see. (I am not a nurse or clinician BTW).

Our Social Worker took John to see a Psychiatrist at the hospital who agreed with our queries and concerns. This Psychiatrist ensured that all relevant tests were carried out. Good on him.

Where we are today: John should not be on anti-psychotics, they may have caused the shakes or at least been a contributing factor. The Neurologist and the Psychiatrist are now slowly withdrawing John from the drugs and further testing will be done to see if Parkinson’s is now the diagnosis.

My thoughts: Why has no one cared enough to ask the questions?
Does this man have a mental illness requiring anti-psychotics?
Why does this man shake, twitch and fall like he does?
What support or help does this man need?

John is amazing, 5 months drug and alcohol free, well groomed, telling us he never really cared much for himself, no one had said anything good to him before but now he is expecting a better life and thinks he may well be a good person after all. (And he is)

I have just read this story to John to make sure that I have it right and to ensure that he is happy for me to publish it. He asked me to tell you: "I couldn't get any help on the street, it was too hard" "This place has helped me so much and all the other people that come to the shelter get help to".

So let’s not judge people like John anymore, let’s look at our services and systems and ask what are you doing?

Signing off tonight feeling sad for our people who have lost so much and angry at those that could have looked a little deeper.

Entry 20.1.2015 / Exit 3.11.2015

Update from John

Very soon I will be shifting into my own Whare. Housing New Zealand have offered me a house and it is awesome. I am looking forward to a bright future. The Nightshelter and my new friends have helped me to get where I am now. I really want to thank Housing New Zealand because without them the next step would have been impossible.

If you had asked me a year ago if I could see myself shifting into my own home I would have laughed at you. A year ago all I was doing was surviving, just getting through each day. I never looked any further ahead than that.

The things that have changed for me are, no more alcohol and a change of friends, I never thought about a new life, I didn't know there was one. I have learned a lot and want to learn a lot more. One day I would like to have a job and maybe a family, my own flesh and blood.

I think it is cool that you have all taken an interest in me and my story, people haven't been interested in me before. Most people just thought I was a bum on the side of the road, people take a second look now.

I am going to have my new home blessed and will be leaving the shelter for good at the beginning of November.

Thank you for supporting me everyone. 

- John 

TMNT Comment

I have just been talking to John. He is so amazing and so funny he seriously makes me laugh whenever we chat. Those of you who are privileged enough to have him as a friend will know what I mean.

By way of update he is very happy, very house proud and is exercising everything he has learned at his boundaries courses. Proud!!!

He works tirelessly on his small section to ensure that his landlord (HNZ) are happy with him. He is happy for us to drop in for coffees but apparently we are family so quote "make your own" unquote.

He has sent Tracey a picture that depicts his journey, it is gorgeous. I will ask for permission from him to share that with you all.

People I do believe that the Mission and Vision of the Tauranga Moana Nightshelter Trust is more than achievable and worth its weight in gold!!! Thank you to those visionaries and philanthropic’s who were instrumental in delivering this amazing whare and service into our community.

The team on the TMNT front line get to see the joy on the faces of those beautiful people who now regain the lives they deserve. We are truly privileged, this post is to attempt to share those privileges with you, our supporters.