Trent was born in Whakatāne, and raised by his father while his mother was working. His father joined the gang and was patched up at 19 years of age. Trent was recruited to the gang when he was 14 years of age.
At the age of 12, Trent began smoking marijuana and got into harder drugs like methamphetamine from about the age of 19.
Trent became a father at 18 years old.
“I was learning how to be a father, and I wasn’t doing too good.”
During that time, he saw himself become more violent with his partner and was imprisoned soon after.
“When I was in jail, I was just dreaming of being a better dad, and when I got out, I wanted to be able to take my daughter to school.”
Trent was released from prison just 12 months ago now, and his growth and ability to talk and connect with the Waiariki whānau has been inspirational.
Trent’s Probation Officer didn’t think that WWM was really a Māori course, and because Trent hadn’t had much to do with Te Reo, he believed she didn’t feel he would benefit from attending.
“I came to the first Noho – I didn’t say anything, but I seen and heard a few other gang members talking and opening up.”
When Trent left that day, he still had his walls up, no one had cracked him, and he didn’t want to let anyone get through. He wanted to feel like he had beaten them. But what he’d been part of that day really affected him.
“It sort of did something on the inside, aye, because when I left, I really wanted to say something.”
Trent was relieved when he was invited back and recalls trying to speak that time around, but found it too hard to show his feelings and let out what he needed to say.
“I couldn’t speak – the words just wouldn’t come out, it was just like too traumatic, aye.”
On Trent’s third visit to the Noho Marae, he shared his story, his hardships and good times with the others in the room. He let everyone know where he’d come from and what he’d experienced.
“I’ve learnt that you don’t always need to be tough, it’s like alright to be vulnerable sometimes.”
Trent was really ready for change, and this kaupapa is for people that want to embrace change.
“I’ve built a wall up around myself, for 26 years, and if I let it down or take the wall apart, it might take bricks out of my armour. There’s gonna be no one to help me fix it up, once it’s all gets let out.”
“I’ve been off the drugs for about 3 years now, and um, life’s sort of getting good”
Trent continues to improve, and he is now learning to enjoy life on the outside with his whānau.
“I go to pick up my kids every day. The school, they must have been watching because they noticed.”
When Trent went to pick up his kids from school one day he noticed a lady chasing his car! It was the Deputy Principal of the school. She asked if he wanted some mahi. Trent showed up the next day and was handed a job description for a Teacher Aide position. Trent accepted the role and is now working to support and help the younger Tāne who are sometimes experiencing behavioural problems. Trent has learnt so much from this kaupapa, being cared for by Waata, Teresa and Watson has clearly become an important part of his journey.