In 1993 Shane Bruere fell off a roof and after spending 11 weeks in a coma was left with a permanent brain injury.
When Carol Stiles visited Ngā Tukemata-O-Kahungunu’s vocational services programme, Shane was sanding down a support boat that will accompany a waka down the Clive River.
The programme, run by Jim Edwards, strives to replicate the support Māori traditionally gave people with disabilities in a way that works in 2015. Twenty men take part in the kaupapa Māori programme that sees them caring for gravestones in urupā, maintaining marae, carving and supporting waka excursions. They also mow lawns, chop firewood and maintain vehicles.
Shane, who also comes to the cultural activities programme twice a week, says it means a lot to him to be able to work at Nga Tukemata o Kahungunu.
“Because I accept the benefit I consider myself a dole bludger and that’s a bummer…. I feel if I work as a volunteer doing whatever, wherever helping, then I am not a dole bludger…. it may only be a little job but helping’s helping.”
Carol Stiles meets Shane, Jim and others at the Hawkes Bay service to find out about more about the programme.