There was an amazing turn-out at Albert Park on December 7th for the start of the Hikoi. Despite severe weather warnings and a bus strike, hundreds of people from treatment centres across the city, recovery groups, 12 Step fellowships, their families and supporters gathered at the park. In this blog, Jess Hastings tell us about her experiences of the day.
The atmosphere was excited and full of anticipation of being able to challenge the stigma experienced by marginalised populations, and the message that they belong in this world and have so much to give. The day started with a karakia and waiata, followed by a brief mihi before the crowd proceeded off down Princess st and into the city escorted by Police.
The entire hikoi was heralded with the sounds of the Pūtātara and Pūkāea, waiata and haka all along the way to the event at Myers park. You can view some of this in the video below.
The feeling of hundreds of people supporting recovery flowing into Myers park was incredibly powerful. These people were smiling and hugging, this was connection at it’s best.
One woman attending said she didn’t have many sober memories of this area and I related to this. However we had new memories now and it was a day I will never forget.
Every person in recovery has a story and the positive ripple effect of addicts not using drugs is humbling to say the least. I felt really proud to be a part of this day, it’s not often recovery is celebrated so openly and joyfully. This event made me realise what recovery is all about, not hiding like many of us did in our using, but embracing and inspiring others; a togetherness in which we are truly there for each other.
Despite recovery hikoi’s featuring across the globe, this is the first time one has taken place in Aotearoa. I could tell the organisers had worked incredibly hard, including one member of our rōpū, Dave Burnside, and many others. The aroha and wairua could be felt everywhere, which is testament to the effort of the organisers and those attending.
Children were playing, people were dancing to awesome live bands and a DJ and the whole event was full of life. Another highlight was hearing stories from inspirational speakers including Shane White a member of our rōpū and many others with powerful Kōrero.
The He Ture Kia Tika team aim to give voice to those with histories of addiction and mental health distress which aligns with the purpose of the hikoi and it was a joy to see.