Our Kiwi with a heart of goldTame's story
Tame’s down-to-earth personality and compassionate heart puts anyone in his presence at ease. It’s clear the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Counsellor doesn’t relish the spotlight and would much prefer to go quietly about his work. But beneath Tame’s humble demeanour is a man who is doing invaluable work for the youth of the Gold Coast, with a fantastic story to tell.
Working with young people, if you meet them with love, compassion, and honesty, they sense that. And whatever they’re going through, if you start with love, they can draw on that
‘Aroha’ – a perfect place to start
As an AOD Counsellor with Lives Lived Well, Tame works in community spaces and schools to provide harm reduction and prevention for at-risk youth. His main goal is to ensure young people feel supported – through education and counselling or referrals to other programs.
Tame says his Māori background has hugely influenced his values. Growing up, he spent a lot of time with extended family, and believes this instilled the familial and community values that remain intrinsic to the man he is today. Tame’s family-focused heart drives his passion to provide a sense of community to the young people he meets.
“The most important value to me is ‘Aroha’ – love. Working with young people, if you meet them with love, compassion, and honesty, they sense that. And whatever they’re going through, if you start with love, they can draw on that.”
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People. Always people.
Tame has had an extensive career journey – from his time as a chef to the people-focused specialist he is today. But his experience working in a prison was the catalyst for change.
In Wellington, Tame worked as a Counsellor in a prison where he was confronted by the number of people he knew who had landed in jail. He was saddened by their stories, and began to truly understand how difficult it is for people to turn their lives around. Motivated to help create change, Tame returned home to see how he could help.
“At home, I saw poverty, I saw hopelessness, I saw issues around domestic violence, self-harm and suicide. It saddened me, but I knew I needed to be there to help, to support and to learn.”
Tame studied at Anamata in New Zealand, completing a Diploma in Applied Maori Health, majoring in Coexisting Disorders. He then worked in social services in New Zealand for the next seven years. In 2014, a friend invited Tame across the Tasman and he fell in love with the Gold Coast, where he has now settled down with his family.
Care, respect and hopes for home
Tame has worked with LLW since 2015. He reflects on the caring environment he’s found here, and a positive culture that he feels is extended across all levels of our organisation.
“I’ve always been treated well and felt respected, and that goes right to the top. There are no titles when you speak with members of the Executive Team – they just talk to you as a person. They want to hear your story.”
Looking to the future, Tame expresses high hopes for Lives Lived Well and his own career.
“I’ve already seen massive growth during my time here, but I’d love to expand across the ditch. My dream is to go home to New Zealand, but still work under Lives Lived Well. There is so much potential to grow there.”
Thank you, Tame, for all that you bring.
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