Tremain's Story

Being given the chance to be a part of this book enabled my whole whanau and I to grow and cry tears of healing and to allow our own children the love and respect they deserve, never to fear those they love the most.


We all carry our scars from our father
Tremain's Story - Violence begets violence


Illustrations by: Jordan Wisniewski

Our family lived the Once Were Warriors life. At least in the film Jake would try to make up the next day. My father wouldnt.

Hed go ahead and hurt our mother harder. His violence knew no bounds. His anger never settled. Hed do whatever it took to hurt us children punch us with fists, smash us with bottles, kick us, whack us with sticks or belts. Hed beat the living daylights out of us not for anything.

Wed run as fast as we could if he was in the house, but hed lock the back door so wed head for the windows. We were like a hen pen full of little chickens trying to get out.

We all knew the story run faster than Dad, get away and dont come home till someone comes and gets you.

As a primary school-age child I discovered that the safest place was being under the bed, clinging to the wire wove. Those beds had a diagonal cross of wire wove supporting the wire mesh, and you could grab that and pull yourself up. No one could see you if they looked under the bed, and they couldnt hit you if they put a broom under the bed.

Wed sleep in the bed with our mother because wed feel safe then. Mum would lock the door, and put knives in round the handle so that if the door opened inwards youd have to break the knives or the wood. My father could scream all he wanted, all night, but he wasnt going to get in.

One night he came back home from drinking with the neighbours and my mother said to us, Dont move, dont say anything, he cant get in. Next minute he started swearing and said, Im going to cut the throat out of my daughter and stick her guts up on the old pine tree. He had my little sister, who had also been at the neighbours.

My mother had no choice but to open the door. He started to punch her full-on in the face. He picked up a knife. I kicked him and grabbed him around the head. My little brother tackled him around his legs and he fell to the ground.

My mother ran off, and all the other kids. But my brother and I didnt quite make it out of the house. He caught us and he stuck my little brother through the bottom pane of glass on our three-paned front door, and threw me through the middle one. My mother came back because we were lying in a pool of blood. He attacked her again and stuck her though the glass of the little porch outside the front door.

God bless these Pakeha people who lived five houses away Patrick, who was at high school, and his sister, who was a teacher. Patrick could hear all the kids screaming, and he ran down there and grabbed my father and wrestled him to the ground. His sister came running down and took us all to hospital. I had a big cut. Ive still got scars on my stomach from that night.

We all carry our scars from our father. One day my little sister was outside the front door, and she turned round and told him what she thought. She would have been five. He picked up a big pot planter and stuck it through the window and dropped it on her head, split her head in two. Another time he ran over my baby brother in the car.