Guest Poster – Tara te Heke

Kia ora koutou

When David asked me to write a few posts while he was away I was surprised. I’ve only known DPF a few years and it was trusting of him.

What? A Maori solo mum of 3 children, write of thousands of you angry white middle aged male computer geekoids on Kiwiblog? But you know, needs must and I have a tonne of time on my hands because Paula Bennett said so.

Anyway I have promised to put on my best Bill English and write to you whiteys about some Maaaaori issues and first up being a solo Mum.

So what’s it like? Pretty choice actually. In between rorting the taxpayer of heaps of dollars, raising my kiddies without their father and surviving without any trips to Ozzie or even struggling sometimes to get a ride into town when the car has blown up it’s really awesome.

Like when I left school at 16 I went to work in the local freezing works. It was seductively a great job as I was earning more pingers than anyone I knew and even more than University graduates. At 19 I found the man of my dreams there. Big, strong and brown. To start with it was like a fairytale. Then he got angry easily and gave me the bash. Often. I thought if I gave him some children it would be better, that he would grow up and be a great Dad.

I had the first one at 20 when is topped working. My man had a good job and we were getting by okay. I didn’t have to work, in fact he liked it that way as it made him feel like the hunter gatherer, the provider. Just me and the baby. Our little team. But the worst happened and he lost his job. Man that was hard. He hated going to welfare so I would have to go. He got depressed and angry again. And took it all out on me. I’d get the bash for anything. Like the time I cooked dinner and the roast spuds got a little burnt and he enraged and chucked them all over me. The pan smashing my head and I ended up the next day in A&E when my best friend T came to deal with me and wouldn’t accept that I’d walked into the door.

This continued another few months and in that time the sex was brutal. Drunk sex. Not Once were Warriors sex or anything but sex to punish me for spending time with bubs and not him. I got pregnant again and then my heart sank as I found out I was having twins.

My mother was at least helping as the same had happened to her, but she knew something was wrong with me. I knew that twins would mean now 3 times the work, 3 times less income left and more violence when my man worked out he was more useless and couldn’t afford to keep us together without help from welfare. Mum had to help my sister as well. And our brother who has a handicap and can’t work so gets a sickness benefit.

When my Man started to bash up the little ones I knew I had to leave. To get out and not go back. It was my fault if I didn’t and I had all the power. I had 3 kids and went to welfare, sitting in the office and crying. I was a number but they were okay, there was worse than me in the waiting room.

Then I got angry. What made it worse was I knew he was getting away with it. I had three kiddies to feed and he had none now. He could divorce our family and pay nothing, have no responsibility and do it all again. He would find another woman and repeat it all on her.

So when you all get down on solo Mums you have to remember there are solo Dads as well. We haven’t left them by choice, none of my friends have, most of us have had to leave like me with the violence, friends of mine who have been cheated on and had to leave, and some others whose men have just walked out and never bothered to come home, let alone send a cheque.

There are some awesome Dads out there who spend every last cent they have on their kids. They take the time to look after them and be a part of their lives. But they are few and far between. I haven’t been blessed meeting one. My man is a deadbeat.

Still no job, hooked up with a girl I went to school with. I only hope she’s not getting the bash like I did. Other than that, she’s welcome to him.

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