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From House Of 14 To Home Owner at 26

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This article first appeared in Stuff.co.nz.

Intro written by Ayla Hoeta for Sans Pareil. Mae sure to follow her amazing journey on Instagram. 


Ayla Hoeta

I’m Māori and I understand what colonisation has done to my tupuna – my ancestors – and how it’s affecting our people today. My nans who raised me – they spoke Māori to each other but they didn’t see it as being important for us because of how they were treated. They used to get beaten if they spoke Māori at school.

Now, I understand that it’s an endangered language and it’s our responsibility to play our part in revitalising it. So I try my best to speak it as much as I can. I made sure that my two boys went to a kura kaupapa, so they’re fluent in te reo now. I’ve taken it right through high school and uni, and I’m still taking courses now.

I always had a dream to create a different life for myself. I went to a good school – Auckland Girls Grammar – and started doing well. It’s not very common for our community to really go to high school past fifth form, but when I was younger there was a small group of girls who went to Auckland Girls, and they wore the uniform and they got off the bus, and we’d see them walking home.

I grew up in Pukekohe, in a state home with my two grandmothers, and a few other siblings – quite a few. There were 14 of us in the house at times. We grew up on Victoria St, near what’s called “the dark side” – it’s where all the state houses are. People think there’s no potential there. But really, there is.

I fell pregnant in Year 13 – my last year of high school – with the twins. That put things into a difficult place– the goals I had. But I always knew I was going to achieve what I wanted to, and I really wanted to get my own place and have it be in a safe community. It just took a bit longer, after becoming a young solo mum.

Fast forward a few year, I was 25 when I heard about the Housing Foundation and I went down for a look. I knew straight away that that’s where I wanted to be. I applied and I got my house. I put down my deposit, set up a budgeting plan, and then the house got built. We moved in two years ago.

This is part of my story and it is here to show other young wahine and whanau, our people are great, courageous and powerful and we can do anything no matter the circumstance. 


Article as appeared on Stuff.co.nz 

​AYLA: I grew up in Pukekohe, in a state home with my two grandmothers, and a few other siblings – quite a few. There were 14 of us in the house at times. We grew up on Victoria St, near what’s called “the dark side” – it’s where all the state houses are. People think there’s no potential there. But really, there is.

I grew up in a community that wasn’t looked at very nicely, and there was a lot of poverty, I guess I could say – people living on the dole and affiliated with gangs.

I always had a dream to create a different life for myself. I went to a good school – Auckland Girls Grammar – and started doing well. It’s not very common for our community to really go to high school past fifth form, but when I was younger there was a small group of girls who went to Auckland Girls, and they wore the uniform and they got off the bus, and we’d see them walking home.

We knew who they were because they were seniors at our primary school. But just the way they behaved, and the way they held themselves, was different to everybody else. You could tell that they were at a good school and that they were proud of who they were. I was impressed, and I thought, “My gosh, I want to be be like that.” We were out of zone; I didn’t get in in my first year. I re-applied the following year, and I got in.

Ayla and her twin 11-year-old sons.

I fell pregnant in Year 13 – my last year of high school – with the twins. That put things into a difficult place– the goals I had. But I always knew I was going to achieve what I wanted to, and I really wanted to get my own place and have it be in a safe community. It just took a bit longer, after becoming a young solo mum.

A few years forward, I moved into a new role at Auckland Council – a role that is like a dream job for me: working in community, and with young Māori and Pasifika students. I got into a position where I was able to save. I’ve always saved – since I was like, 14.

I was 25, 26 when I heard about the Housing Foundation and I went down for a look. I knew straight away that that’s where I wanted to be and I needed to figure out how to get in there. It’s a government initiative to support families into their first home. They have different options to make it easier, like shared home ownership, or rent-to-buy.

I applied and I got my house. I put down my deposit, set up a budgeting plan, and then the house got built. We moved in two years ago.

It’s a two storey house; a beautiful, new townhouse, connected to another house. You come through the front door and in front of you is the stairs. You see the dining area, the lounge, and you feel the breeze coming through the doors. The sun rises in the front and sets at the back, so every morning the sun beams through my bedroom window – it’s so beautiful.

There are three rooms upstairs. I got another toilet installed downstairs – I paid extra for that – for my mum – my nan – because she can’t really walk upstairs when she visits.

The carpet still smells new; the walls are really white. It’s a lovely home. I’ve spent a lot of time in the back yard, doing my vegetable garden and some landscaping, so the back yard is just as beautiful.

I’m Māori and I understand what colonisation has done to my tupuna – my ancestors – and how it’s affecting our people today. My nans who raised me – they spoke Māori to each other but they didn’t see it as being important for us because of how they were treated. They used to get beaten if they spoke Māori at school.

Now, I understand that it’s an endangered language and it’s our responsibility to play our part in revitalising it. So I try my best to speak it as much as I can. I made sure that my two boys went to a kura kaupapa, so they’re fluent in te reo now. I’ve taken it right through high school and uni, and I’m still taking courses now at the wānganga.

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