Ex-drug dealer and addict sets up clinic to help others resist P's pull

Ex-addict and P dealer Te Kai Po Ahuriri  will launch a a walk-in addiction support clinic in Palmerston North next week.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Ex-addict and P dealer Te Kai Po Ahuriri will launch a a walk-in addiction support clinic in Palmerston North next week.

He used to help people feed their P addiction, but now this Palmerston North gang member hopes to help them kick it.

Te Kai Po Ahuriri, a former drug-dealer and P addict, turned his life around after almost dying. Since then he has thrown himself into charity work. 

The gang member became a local celebrity after his generosity towards the city's homeless community was captured on video last year.

His latest project  is setting up a walk-in clinic, for people affected by P, with New Zealand "P" Pull, a support group set up by ex-addicts. 

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The Raukawa District Maori Wardens have given the clinic space in their Palmerston North headquarters on Grey St. Ahuriri plans to get the clinic up and running  in the next week.

Ahuriri was a P-addict for 16 years. P Pull's Porirua walk-in clinic helped Ahuriri get clean and stay clean for a year and half now.

He was proud to set up the group's Palmerston North clinic and wanted to make sure every Manawatū addict got the support he did.

Ahuriri said there was nowhere in the city people affected by, or addicted to, P could just walk into and get confidential help without getting hassled.

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"P is the easiest drug to get on the streets these days and it's the most destructive. But people are afraid to talk about it because they don't want to be labelled narcs."

The clinic  would provide ways for people to  ask questions anonymously and seek advice about their situation, Ahuriri said.

He hit The Square on Friday to drum up awareness for the new clinic, with an eye-catching display of flags and anti-P banners.

Sharn Cassady​, from Levin-based community group Life to the Max, was leading a dozen at-risk Horowhenua teens on a day-trip to the city when she spotted the display.

The trip was just supposed to be some holiday fun, but the kids had clicked with Ahuriri, whose story and example were a valuable educational experience for them, she said.

"I'm glad we came past. I think it was meant to be."

Ahuriri said he knew he had a lot to make up for. He'd caused a lot of harm and violence as a drug dealer and criminal.

"I see the last names of these youngsters [robbing] dairies in the paper and I think 'hell, their parents used to be my clients'. 

"I was part of the reason they had less growing up, why there was no food in the cupboard. They had almost no choice but to be thieves," he said.

"It stabs me in the conscience."

Ahuriri said he hoped seeing someone like him doing good would inspire everybody, including gang members, to do the same.

"I want to challenge our people to look after our communities, like it's supposed to be."

 - Stuff

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