I was a Vietnam Veteran. On my return home, I began work as Prison Officer at the maximum-security prison, Paremoremo. I was promoted to Senior Prison Officer and then posted to Taupo in charge of first offenders.
Later I was shoulder tapped by John Te Rangihau of Tuhoe to assist in the implementation of the report Puao Te Atatu addressing racism in the Department of Social Welfare. Following the post, I became advisor to Labour Minister of Social Welfare Helen Clark next Dr Cullen and Annette King. Subsequently, I became Chief Māori Advisor to Jenny Shipley of the National Party.
Consequently, I was instructed by Kaumatua to return to Ngapuhi to establish the Council of Elders to ensure the Te Tiriti o Waitangi remained intact.
Today, I’m involved as Kaumatua of Manukau Urban Māori authority to address education and mental health and other issues important to Māori. I’m also responsible for Marae justice where offenders appear before me for minor offences rather than appear before the courts.
I also work at Te Whare Waatea radio station implementing the news and Te Reo Māori nationally.
Being a Vietnam Veteran I am living with the effects of Agent Orange, I have dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to include enacting addiction practises. I acknowledge the loss of Veterans through suicide and when invited to join the Te Huarahi o te Kete Pounamu team as Kaumatua I didn’t hesitate to take up this opportunity. One of my goals is to highlight the plight of our Veterans.