When 19-year-old Tiana Kiro became pregnant last year, she knew she needed help.

“I was struggling to, I guess process… the new life that was going to begin for me,” Tiana Kiro says.

Coming from a difficult family situation meant that she’d have to turn to the public sector for help.

“When I grew up, I was surrounded by… everything,” Kiro says.

“You know, the drugs, the alcohol, the abuse, the gangs. Everything that we’re all judged for, the stereotypes of a Māori.

“…I don’t want that for my baby.”

So that’s exactly what she did.


Facing motherhood alone

Tiana Kiro (right) with her baby son. Photo credit: Te Karere.


At this present time, young Kiro is living in a Takanini emergency housing complex, along with her son.

Kiro adds that her Takanini facilities are small, but adequate.

“I feel 100% safe there,” Tiana Kiro says.

“It’s not really the flashest place to be living in but it's still a roof over our heads.”

She hopes to find out soon when she’ll be moving to permanent lodgings.


Getting support

Since she turned to E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services, a new chapter of Tiana Kiro’s life has begun.

She’s on civil terms with her whānau, and they are happy with her journey.

The young mum is even progressing towards finishing her high school education.

And she’s quickly learning the ropes of being an advocate for teen mums in similar situations.

A recent Te Karere article featured Kiro speaking out against the discrimination she has experienced.

Discrimination towards teen parents is something she’s keen to defeat.


“To change the system, you have to be in the system”

Advocacy is only the beginning of Kiro’s plan to change the world.

She revealed to Te Karere her dream path to effect systemic change – the NZ police.

“To change the system, you have to be in the system,” Kiro says.

When asked how the people she grew up with might feel about her career choice she explains:

“They can see it as betrayal, but I see it as a change,” she says.

“If being a police officer is where it starts, then I’m willing to take that step to make that change.”

Who knows when the Royal NZ Police College will be accepting a new cadet from Glen Innes.


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