“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.”

– Terauhinga

Charity registration number: CC57701