“My cousins used to tell me when I was like only 11; they’d say “Terauhinga Terauhinga!” But I’m in front of them and they’d be behind me and they’d tap on me and they’d be like “you deaf ears”! And I thought that actually they’re teasing me? But literally, I couldn’t actually hear them.
It was my Nana that actually booked the appointment and took me in. I didn’t know I was deaf until I was 17. They say I’m moderately deaf – moderately to severe…
There was a huge difference wearing hearing aids; I could tell what I was missing out on because the TV is so loud now! Sometimes they give me a headache because some sounds are too loud, and I’m still trying to get used to wearing them.
I was wagging school quite a bit in my last couple of years, because I was struggling a lot. Right through school with bullying as well – that got a lot worse when I got to senior years. Yeah I just didn’t want to be at school at all when I was at Verdon. I literally just thought that I wasn’t smart, like smart for school. I really lost a lot of self-esteem.
Then I went to Van Ash and Hagley and they really did turn all that around for me. I lived at Van Ash and we had support staff there. They really helped me, with my time management and organisational skills. Made me feel more capable; one in particular – Laurinda-Lee – supported me in pretty much everything.
I was a lot happier when I went to Hagley and Van Ash. When I went to Hagley, like, I realised I don’t actually have anything that’s holding me back from making friends. I didn’t know I was capable of that. And I always thought English was the hardest subject, but I passed English at level 2. I was understanding it a lot more with the hearing aids because I could hear the instructions!
I’m studying at Ara now. Going to school in Christchurch has given me another chance in life.”
Today is World Hearing Day, and March is Hearing Awareness Month in New Zealand.