I grew up on the East Coast of New Zealand in a place called Hastings. My parents brought me up in an environment that was full of violence, alcohol and inappropriate sexual material. My Mum and Dad tried to raise my brother and I the best they knew how.
I would end up growing up to be New Zealand’s most wanted criminal.
I was wanted for an armed hold up in Auckland and for escaping bail.
At school I played large amounts of rugby with well known All Black, Josh Kronfeld. As a result, we became very good friends. I was being watched on the field, and I was on my way to being noticed by some good rugby selectors. But then I was struck by injury and that is when my life took a turn for the worse. I had been on the field playing rugby, running with the ball when I got tackled, taking my knee out. I had to be carried off the field. I ended up in hospital having to have a knee operation. I was only 12 years old. After the operation the doctor told me I need to look for another career because I would not be able to play rugby ever again. The doctor’s words hit my life very hard, because, as is for many young fellas, all I wanted was to become a rugby star. But for me it was all over.
My days at school were just hard to deal with after this and I couldn’t wait until I could leave school. After the injury to my knee I was angry and did not know what I wanted to do. I had no enthusiasm or inspiration to do anything. I no longer had any dreams. By the time I was at High School I was just crazy. I did not care about school life.
Then another devastating event took place. I came home to find all my mother’s stuff gone out of her bedroom. She had left my father while he was at work and I was at school. My eldest brother took Mum up to Gisborne to be with another guy. This was a huge fork in the road of my life. I left school the day I turned 15 years old. My father was totally mixed up and didn’t care about me or my brother at this stage. My father started to hit the booze and having lots of prostitutes over to our home. I was only 15 years old, just left school, and I had nothing, no qualifications, nothing.
At this time, whilst I was still only 15 years old, my friend got murdered in Hastings. I was with him that night. Gunmen came up to our flat and shot him dead right in front of all of us, and that was the end. That had an unforgettably devastating impact on my life.
LIFE IN TURMOIL
I sold what I had and jumped on a plane and went to Aussie where I became caught up in the underground biker gangs. I was hanging out with my friends in the gangs in Kings Cross. In this environment I ended up having relations with a lot of ladies who were much older than me. I was stabbed by a rival gang member, a member of the Comanchero Bikie Club, one night in a pub. I spent a year in Aussie and my life, at the age of 16, was full of sex, drugs and violence.
I headed back to New Zealand after this drug-fuelled life in Aussie. But I was wanted by the New Zealand Police for arson. Because before I had left New Zealand for Australia I had been out with my mates and set fire to Napier Airport. I had escaped to Australia.
This lifestyle went on for well over 15 years. Spending years in jail on heroin and running around the country of New Zealand hiding from the police. I spent 10 years in jail for an armed robbery in Auckland, which I had hoped would help pay for my drug addiction. From the ages of 19 to 28 I was on the run or locked up. My only role models were my gang friends. I had no future at all.
While I was on drugs I went into detox in Auckland. The doctor gave me only five years to live if I didn’t change my life. I could not believe that. I thought he was just lying to me. I dismissed this thought into the back of my mind.
Whilst serving in prison for a number of years a guy came into my cell and asked if I wanted to attend a bible study. It was on Thursday nights between 6pm and 7:30pm. Prison lock up was 8pm every night. I wanted to smash him over. But I thought, well, I have nothing to lose. So after a couple of weeks of thinking about it, and this dude continually asking me, I decided to go along. About a month into attending bible study every Thursday night, Kevin Winters, who took the study with his awesome wife, pulled me to the side just before we had to leave to be locked up. He told me he felt God gave him a number and it was the number five. He didn’t know what it meant, but I did. It was what the detox doctor had said, who had given me five years to live, and five years was almost up.
I did not say anything at that time. But just went back to my cell and just cried like a baby. If I did not give my heart to Jesus Christ I would be carried out of jail in a box and that was what the number five was all about. So I surrendered to Jesus and asked him to take hold of my life at the age of 26.
I still had two years on my jail sentence to do. I used this time to allow Jesus to mould me for a new life on the outside. But as a Christian in jail, I still had some mountains to climb. Lots of people knew my old life. But glory to Jesus he helped me to be the witness he wanted me to be while in jail. I had the privilege to pray for gang members and give godly advice to them. I also saw healings take place. It was an awesome time and God gave me strength to say no to drugs. By the time I was released from jail and I was changed by God from the inside out.
Initially, I went and lived with Kevin and Christine for 5 years. I still had many problems to sort out in my life. I had huge anger issues and struggled with sexual temptations. Kevin and Christine taught me how to live life on the outside.
For a long while I had thought I had everything in life; all the drugs and money when I wanted it and all the sex a guy could think of. But all of this was just meaningless, hopeless and purposeless. I had a life of destruction; from major drug addiction to being stabbed and shot at and all the ups and downs in between. But most importantly of all is how I got out of this lifestyle of hopelessness and found redemption.
Since I handed my life over to God he has opened doors to share my testimony to many groups around New Zealand. I also had the privilege on being filmed on “20/20” (TV2) to share my story, and on a youth documentary called “Redemption Hill”.
I have written a book about my life that goes into prisons all around New Zealand. I have given away over 1000 books in jails within 8 months. I get donations for the book so I can give it away to rehabilitation centres, prostitutes, gang clubs, and at-risk youth programmes.
Now I am married to a lovely lady Wendy and we have three awesome daughters. I still find it hard with issues in my life, but with Jesus in my life he gives me the strength I need to seek him and have a deeper understanding for him.
Today I help people who are struggling with addictions like I was. I also do motivational speaking. But I am always looking at ways to bring Jesus’ kingdom into the community and into people’s lives. I go back into my old gang’s home and speak and help them with life. I thank God for the life change.