A Kaewa’s Journey to Reconnect with his Mother

When J* was living on the streets he faced multiple complex physical, mental, social, and cultural challenges. Unfortunately, due to these circumstances J lost contact and connection with his whānau.

J was eligible for Housing First assistance and was placed into a stable, safe, and comfortable home. After gaining housing, J’s wellbeing improved significantly as he increased confidence and self-esteem.

During a conversation with his keyworker, J mentioned that he missed his mother and had not contacted or connected with his whānau for many years.

J decided his next choice would be a goal to reconnect with his whānau, particularly his mother.

Hearing this, his keyworker inquired if he had any current or past relevant information that could assist an attempt to locate her.

Initially, he remembered that his mum had been placed in a Dementia Care Facility in the North Island due to diminishing health. While there was some confusion about where the facility may be and J’s recollection was extremely vague, the next step was to return home to the south of the North Island and attempt to locate his mum through whānau. J was confident he could find his mum there.

Unfortunately, travelling home did not result in J reconnecting with his mum and he returned back to Christchurch more confused than when he left. One of his whānau members informed him that his mum was living in Christchurch with no knowledge of her whereabouts. Therefore, to investigate the situation a phone call was made to the CDHB.

However, they had no past or current information about her residing in a care facility within the Christchurch region. Next, investigative calls were placed to the few care facilities in Christchurch that look after dementia patients.

Making no progress through their efforts, J and his keyworker decided a phone call to the Wellington DHB might assist them in locating medical records. They were given the name of a residential care facility and contacted them, only to be directed on to a further facility. Slowly losing hope, they dialled the number and placed the phone on speaker.

The phone was answered by a staff nurse. After explaining the situation, the nurse stated that she may know someone who could help them.

While they waited to speak with who they assumed would be another staff member, a croaky old voice said “is that you J?”

J’s keyworker observed the look on his face and immediately asked him “is that your mum?”

With a tear in his eye he replied “yes”

Both mother and son were overcome with emotion. They spoke for over 40 minutes and continued to stay in phone contact until J’s mum arrived in Christchurch within the next two weeks.

Since they have reunited, J’s mothers challenging health issues are improving.

J’s keyworker describes this journey as both incredibly rewarding and emotional for all involved. To have been present for their moment of reunification is a moment that she will treasure forever.

“The conclusion of the whānau reconnection journey wasn’t only happy and successful, it was outstanding”


*Kaewa’s name has been altered to protect their privacy

Comcare Trust
Te Whare Roimata
Emerge Aotearoa
Christchurch City Mission
Christchurch Methodist Church