TODAY |

Auckland teen with Down syndrome and barber shop owner spark an unlikely friendship

Charlie is 14, lives in the Auckland suburb of Devonport and has Down syndrome.

After he started attending a school outside the suburb he lost touch with many of his friends, until a barber called Iggy formed a special connection with him.

Cheryl Farthing, Charlie's mum, said he finds it hard to make friends as he struggles with verbal communication.

So she put an advertisement on the local Devonport Facebook page saying she would pay people to come and hang out with him.

She had some carer support funding she wanted to use so that Charlie could "hang out with mates like a regular teenager".

The response she received from the community was second to none.

"There was such a lovely response. Over 20 people offered to hang out with Charlie, most for free."

Razor Room Barbershop owner Ignatius Tevaga, otherwise known as Iggy, had just opened his barbershop a month before.

"I didn't have to think twice about helping out, I see everyone as a normal human being. I thought it'd be a really good idea for him to come into the shop and get a free hair cut,” Mr Tevaga said.

"We created a nice bond and a good relationship."

Ignatius, who is new to the area, wanted to get to know some more people and was looking for ways he could use his barber shop to help the community.

"I'm just a normal bloke helping somebody else."

Ms Farthing said, "Charlie loves getting his haircut and always looks forward to seeing Iggy."

"I think maybe he might have to start doing some sweeping in the shop for him."

Iggy continues to give Charlie free haircuts - an unlikely friendship forming in the strangest of ways.

Iggy, left and Charlie, right. Source: Supplied