TODAY |

Violent offender tried 78 other programmes before South Auckland charity changed his life

A South Auckland-based charitable trust started by a former cop who came to New Zealand 19 years ago is showing that those with shadows in their past can still look forward to a brighter future.

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Te Whakaora Tangata founder Cliffy Reddy and success story Robert Brown talk to John Campbell. Source: Breakfast

Cliffy Reddy and his wife Indranee immigrated from South Africa in 2001 and established a popular cafe in Clendon, Manurewa.

As they served their customers, they noticed many of them were dealing with drug addiction, habitual offending, abuse, fractured relationships and other challenges, and the couple decided to step up an help.

They sold their cafe and home in 2005 to establish faith-based community outreach programmes, and in 2010 Te Whakaora Tangata Trust was established.

Their programmes and support aim to change people's lives by helping them address and come to terms with the damage which has been inflicted on them, and heal them emotionally and restore their connections to family.

Speaking this morning to John Campbell on Breakfast was Mr Reddy and Robert Brown, who has been through the programme and says he's never been in trouble with the police since going through Te Whakaora Tangata.

"Not even a speeding ticket - this programme just ended up transforming my whole life," Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown said he used to worry when he saw police out in the community - but now a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

He had done 78 programmes through the justice system - but nothing worked for him until Te Whakaora Tangata, which dealt with the "root issues".

"The breakthrough here was dealing with unforgiveness - things that happened in my childhood, things that I had created over my life through wrong choice.

"I didn't like myself."

Mr Reddy said that "everybody wants to live well in their lifetime, and given the opportunity, they will succeed".

"Quite often we are treating the symptoms rather than the root - it's quite often a damaged childhood.

"So our main focus is focusing on mum and dad."

Mr Reddy said he himself comes from a broken home, with his father leaving at a young age and his mother dying of cancer when he was six.

"I became really troublesome and I never got the nurturing and loving that I could have got from my mum and dad," Mr Reddy said.

Watch the full interview above.