Troy Tatana, of Masterton. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Emily Ireland

Troy Tatana’s upbringing taught him one thing, “take a swing, or get knocked out”.

Violence was just a normal thing, and so was alcohol and drug abuse.

But when he was court-ordered to do a 16-week course with ChangeAbility in Masterton earlier this year, his life and behaviour started to change.

The incident that landed him in court was “alcohol-fuelled”, and it temporarily ended his relationship with his partner with whom he raises three children.

“They have seen the bad side of me,” he said.

“Before ChangeAbility, I didn’t realise I had a choice with my anger.

“I was told as a young kid that I’ve always been an angry child.

“Being brought up like that – you start to believe it.

“I’ve been taught about my core beliefs which I am trying to change.

“Some of my core beliefs are not good and they have really held me back from the person that I want to become.”

Troy said he wanted to be “more caring, compassionate, kinder, and more respectful of others”.

“I’ve always been told I have a big heart, but I always tried to hide it because it wasn’t tough or staunch.”

After the first 16 weeks with ChangeAbility, Troy decided he wanted more of it.

“I’ve been there for about nine months now and I’m still learning heaps.

“I’m trying to change my outlook and the way that I handle my anger.”

He said his partner was “amazed” at the change in his behaviour – “especially when it comes to the kids”.

“It’s not fair that I come home stressed from work, and the kids and partner are on egg shells waiting for me to snap.

“The way I was brought up, I just thought that was normal – I thought that was the way men speak.

“I’m learning that you don’t have to be like that to be a man.”

Troy has had a long history with alcohol and drugs.

He has been clean from needles for seven years after going cold turkey, and hasn’t had a drop of alcohol since the incident with his partner over New Years.

“We broke up because of that reason, so I said, my family means everything to me, so I gave up the alcohol.”

He said going to ChangeAbility “really hit home” to him the damage he was inflicting on his family.

“Now I am ready to change.

“For me, it took a few weeks before a few things really hit home to me.

“I realised I’m not the nicest guy and that really made me want to change.

“It was then that I started opening up and really participating.

Troy is proudly “one of the longest-term people that have been going to ChangeAbility voluntarily”.

“Anger is just an emotion and it’s a normal one too.

“Everyone gets angry, but you have a choice about what you do with that anger.”

Since 2001, ChangeAbility (formally known as SVSW) has supported and led awareness initiatives, such as the White Ribbon campaign, in Wairarapa.

As part of their goal of making Wairarapa a safer place for everyone, they support individuals, families and whanau, and the community to respond safely and respectfully to people who are experiencing, affected by, or perpetrating family violence and sexual violence.

White Ribbon Day, November 25, is the International Day for the Elimination of Men’s Violence Towards Women.

This year, men are asked to ‘Stand Up’ by taking the online pledge and committing to take one or more actions.

The White Ribbon Ride is one of the most exciting initiatives tackling this country’s crippling domestic violence record.

This week-long motorcycle tour happens every November.

The White Ribbon Riders will be in Masterton and Featherston on November 19 to share their stories and talk about the White Ribbon kaupapa.

They will be at Featherston School from 11.30am until 12.45pm and Makoura College in Masterton from 1.25pm until 2.45pm on November 19.

Take the White Ribbon Pledge at whiteribbon.org.nz

For more information about Changeability, visit changeability.org.nz, call 06 377 0933, or email contact@changeability.org.nz.