Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Auckland today raising awareness for drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Among those on the Addiction Recovery Walk is a young Māori mother who has been on the path to recovery.
A hīkoi celebrating their steps to recovery, Riana Potaka, along with hundreds of whānau impacted by addictions, celebrated their recovery by walking from Albert Park to Myers Park in the city.
"I did a 4 1/2 month stint in jail, I came up here to Auckland and I left everything behind. So when I got up here I jumped into the recovery scene, it hasn't been an easy road but I suppose it's worth it,” Potaka says.
Potaka has been sober from drugs and alcohol for three-years, four-months and twenty-two days.
"I was a bloody mess that's what I was. I neglected my children, I neglected my family. I pushed them right out where I didn't want to even know them anymore. I strived to do what I could to get my drugs and alcohol.”
Potaka’s recovery has seen her children return to her care with the help of her support networks.
“Another thing that's helped me is meetings and my whānau that I work for here. They've been my foundation, my rock. Our Māori recovery group strive to use kapa haka as a vehicle of change.”
Even though the hīkoi is over, the celebrations will continue at Myers Park with a concert.