Relationships are the heartbeat of change for William Olds

Te Hapori Ora – Village of Wellbeing graduate, William Olds, has overcome an upbringing sullied by his father’s violence and, literally, a lifetime of addiction to become the qualified indigenous practitioner, fitness advocate, and loving father that he is today.

William runs the twice weekly kettlebell fitness class at Te Hapori Ora Poutama Oranga Destination (POD) in Taupō Council’s Venture Centre on Spa Road. He’s also studying for his personal trainer’s certificate and was central to the restoration of the POD building.

Relationships given a second chance

William Olds’ greatest success, however, lies in the healthy relationships he now has with his six children and the transformation he’s seen in his own father, who was himself a child victim of violence in state institutions.

“My dad is a good person. I don’t blame him for the way he treated me. It was just the way he was raised,” says William.

William’s dad now lives in his ancestral home in the Cook Islands. The two tāne catchup regularly by phone.

“He tells me that our talks have changed his life,” says William. “He’s turning into this beautiful person I’ve never known and I’m so bloody happy for him.”

William Olds’ healing began with Te Hapori Ora

William’s own life changing involvement with Te Hapori Ora started in a similar way.

Strengthened by the insights she gained through Wa Hine Ora and Mauri Ora wānanga run by Te Hapori Ora, his ex-partner threw him a wero or challenge. If he wanted to see his children, he had to go into rehab. He did. He lapsed a few times but that didn’t stop him sticking to his kaupapa.

It was during that period in his life that he took part in his first Tāne Ora wānanga also offered by Te Hapori Ora.

“I was stand-offish at first. I was shy and wasn’t used to talking to people in a group and I thought I’d be judged for doing drugs and violent behaviour, but I kept going. By the fourth session, I realised no one was judging me.  I started to open up”.

William Olds continued to heal and strengthen his wairua by taking part in more Tāne Ora wānanga.

During the rehab process he was diagnosed as dyslexic. When challenged to try something new that he’d always wanted to do, he responded by learning to read. It was a decision that changed his life.

Te Hapori Ora Kaituruki Ora Kimi Eriksen-Downs then suggested he study for a Mauri Ora Indigenous Practitioner Diploma which was facilitated by Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa. He took a deep breath and gave it a go.

“It opened my mind to a whole new world. It was wonderful. I never expected to feel this way,” he says.

Inspired by love of whānau

William Olds is one of many successful members of the Te Hapori Ora – Village of Wellbeing whānau. He credits a lot of his success to the strong bond he’s developed with Te Hapori Ora Kaituruki/CEO, Hakuwai Eriksen-Downs who mentored and walked beside him during his recovery from addiction, as well as Michelle Simpson of Independent Living Choices.

Hakuwai says William was inspired by love of his whānau to embark on a path that will potentially free them of inter-generational violations. 

“The positive impact William’s journey is having on his father’s healing speaks volumes about the impact our services are having, directly and indirectly, on the community we serve,” says Hakuwai.

“He has overcome so much to be the man he is today. William never gave up and look where he is now. I’m so proud of him.”

Hakuwai Eriksen-Downs

Want more?

Read more about the recently opened Te Hapori Ora POD or watch a short video about Te Hapori Ora – Village of Wellbeing.

Read more about how Te Hāpori Ora is free of violence of any kind.