Topic: Health

Moko kauae marks new chapter for former drug addict

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Former drug addict Tricia Walsh turned anti-meth advocate has received a moko kauae, symbolising a new beginning.

Walsh had a harrowing upbringing of abuse, violence and substance abuse and says receiving her moko kauae is "huge."

"I was sexually abused as a child, and raised in a home where there was alcohol and violence by the time I was 12. I have been abused by 50 different people. I ran away from home into the arms of the Mongrel Mob at 13 and a half. So was beaten again for most of my life." 

She suffered through violent relationships from the men in her life, turning to substance abuse to cope with the pain.

"When my mother would beat me she would stomp me until she had no energy left and that's like from three or something. So I learned to curl up in a ball and spent most of my life in the fetal position."

She ended up serving multiple prison sentences throughout her life. The last lag gave her the wake-up call she needed to change for the better.

Upon completion of her moko kauae in front of family in Gisborne she says it made her feel complete, proud and happy.

"I feel that this was always meant to be it was always meant to be for me always meant to be for my whānau and it's introducing it back into our whakapapa." 

She now holds anti-meth workshops throughout the East Coast and is involved in community initiatives against child abuse and bullying.