Leaving home can be a big part of your journey towards a particular career goal or towards becoming an independent adult.
For many of the people on this website, leaving home was a memorable and often emotional experience. People described leaving home for educational reasons, to pursue better opportunities for themselves and their children, and to experience life away from home.
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I moved out of home for uni, we spoke about, I got into the uni course I wanted to do in Mildura. I didn’t want to move away from home. I was very, very comfortable. Loved staying at home and loved Mildura and Dad after sending my oldest sister to Canberra, she went to uni there. Dad decided that I needed to grow up and find some independence and move away from home. So I didn’t know he saw my offer to a school in Warrnambool and he woke me up early one morning, said, “Hop in the car. We’re going to your enrolment day in Warrnambool.” So we drove all the way down and I was like, “No, no, no, I’m not going to that uni. I’m going to stay here. I’m going to go to uni here. I’m just going to live at home.” And Dad said, “No. For you, you need to move away from home because you need to be independent.
“You need to learn those skills and you need to be on your own for yourself.” So I woke up with him and we drove about five hours to get to the uni and we enrolled. And honestly it was the best thing that ever happened to me. And I’m a big advocate for parents during the same thing. I cried many nights, especially the night that they all waved goodbye as they drove off in the Hiace and went back to Mildura. I cried myself that night and many nights after that. But the experience I think is priceless, learning to be independent.
But yeah, we actually moved to Melbourne back in 2012, myself, my husband and our two kids. We were really struggling in Auckland. I think my husband was making $600 a week. I had just had my, our second son and we were just barely surviving. I think our rate was something like $310 so…by the time we had paid everything, we had nothing left.
We came to Melbourne on holiday, our family was here. My friend, and I saw the way people in Australia were living, and my cousin said to me, “You should move over here. The money’s better, there’s just more opportunity in Melbourne.” I was like, “Oh.” I love New Zealand. I’m a Kiwi through and through, so I never thought that I’d ever leave my home.
And so we left. My Mum…my poor Mum, she was crying as if we died. She was crying on her bed. When she was crying I felt …now that I’m a parent, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, if my kids leave, I would die!” I can see why Mum was like that.
So I got my business management degree and saved up some money, jumped on a plane, and landed in London. I ended up spending three years in Europe and I had gotten into a relationship quite early in my high school years and we were destined to be married and things didn’t go very well. So the breakup was overwhelming – heart-wrenchingly heartbroken I was. I tried to get as far away as I could from Auckland, and from the situation.
And if I looked on a map, the furthest looked like London. So I worked three jobs, I saved as much as I could and I landed in London. And it felt like [institute of technology name], I had no friends. And I just moved from place to place still trying to find myself. In hindsight, looking back though, I realised that I needed some space and time to individuate, to actually figure out who I was and not necessarily who I wanted to be in a job position, but what did I value and what was important to me.
So it didn’t matter what role or job that I took on it. What mattered was that it aligned with my ethos with my values and being overseas and spending some time alone really gave me that opportunity to see that. So it also bought me lots of ups and downs. I don’t think you ever understand true loneliness until you’re away from everyone and everything that can recognise you or knows you as a person.
So when no one’s looking, who are you? When no one you know is looking at you. Who are you? Well, you get to figure that out and hopefully, create the best version of yourself in that time and there will be lots of ups and downs.
And I worked through Austria through Germany through Menorca, an island off the coast of Spain. And travelling really made me feel like the world was a friendlier smaller place.
And that you can find so many beautiful like-minded individuals in many different places. It didn’t matter what religion, what ethnicity we were. We all had commonalities within us that if we just spent the time to sit and talanoa and talk, we could figure that out. And you can figure it out even when you don’t know someone’s language. You can see the kindred spirits or the similarities even with a language barrier. I also realized how much I enjoyed meeting new people in travelling when I went overseas. So I left just before I turned 21 and came back just before I turned 24.
So I moved to Bendigo and I, at the age of 15, played TAC cup for three years as a 16, 17, 18 year old.
I had a fair bit of freedom from the age of 15, which isn’t a normal, I guess that’s not normal for most Polynesian families because most Polynesian families are real tight knit and they always like to support. Whereas I spent a lot of my teenage years and my adulthood away from that. Which is, I think now when I look back on it, I think it’s something important that you need to have that family community network. Because it does put you in line. Your family and your relatives keeping you in line, which is at some stages, I probably needed them to get me in line when I was living away.
The three years I was living away, I was living with my sister and older cousin. And they were at the same stage of learning and developing as an adult and the ability for them to hold me accountable and to sort of be the parent wasn’t there. And the fact that I wouldn’t allow them to do that, to speak to me that way and I wouldn’t give them that control because that’s the way I was.
Growing up and going through those stages of playing at elite level football, I’d never ever felt that I deserved to be here. Although my confidence, I put in an artificial confidence through that stage because I didn’t have the parents, I didn’t have the family pat me on the back saying it’s a good job.
But then moving away at 15, there were no mentors or they were all the same age or at the same level mentally. And if I was to have the mentors I have now back then, the outcome could have been, would have been a lot different.
So, I’m just thinking more broadly now, what do you think is some of the reasons for why we don’t have enough of our own people out there being mentors and leaders in the community? So, I think we obviously have like the usual, our community leaders in church, but I mean, outside of that, what do you think are some of the reasons that influence why we don’t have more of our, like we didn’t have more of these like good examples for our kids to look up to?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I’ve thought of this a lot as well. And I think it’s the fear of being judged. As we’re growing up as a Polynesian kids there’s a pecking order in the way that the families are run. And having someone that’s moved away, they build a successful business. When they come back and they try to, or they come back and they’re starting to visit family. Even if they come back confident the family members, some of the family members might pull them down. So they don’t want to really come out and share their knowledge because of that reason that they’re going to feel like they’re going to be judged or they’re going to be pulled back down or told to don’t think you’re better than everyone. And I don’t think that’s just with the Polynesian family as well. I think it’s a lot of different cultural families.
Support during primary and high school
- Peers and friends as a source of support at school
- Support from parents during schooling (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Support from teachers and schools
- Transition from school to post-school education (Part 1 & Part 2)
Experiences of post-secondary education and training
- Experiences of university
- University journeys: Interruptions and finding one’s direction
- Diverse pathways towards university
- Experiences of TAFE
- Short courses and on-the-job training
- Early aspirations and current occupation
- Talking about future aspirations with family members
- Networks of family and friends
- Be proactive and seize unexpected opportunities
- Creating opportunities: Volunteering
Experiences of Work
- Benefits of being a Pacific Islander at work
- Engaging with Pacific community members through work (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Navigating family and career
- Future aspirations
Reflections and advice to young Pacific People
- ‘Akesa – Community Facilitator
- Ama – Lashing Business Administrator & Marketing Coach
- Annie – International & Community Development Specialist
- Ashirah – University student
- Cass – English Teacher, Writer, Project Manager, & President of the Victorian Kiribati Association
- Chris – Field Officer (HR)
- Christopher – Carpenter & Stonemason
- Crofton – Visual Effects & Animation Specialist
- David – App company CEO
- Elisabeth – Teacher
- Elvina – Building Services Mechanical Engineer
- Fipe – Cacao Products Manufacturing Business Owner
- Grace – Airline Customer Service Agent
- Leki – Physiotherapist
- Luisa – Registered Nurse
- Malelega – Legal Assistant
- Marita – Writer
- Rose – Workplace Consultant
- Sefita – Community Engagement Officer
- Semisi – Lawyer
- Talei – Lawyer & Community Engagement + Government Relations Consultant
- Teisa – Medical Doctor
- Tevita – IT Professional
- Thom – Make-up Artist
- Venna – Lashing Business Owner & Trainer