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It's Not Goodbye, Just See You Later!

Stories   |   November 30th, 2021

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Four years since they first met, Te Manu and Hayden have had quite the journey with Upside. 

The pair who were first matched when Te Manu was just 16 years old, became a fixture in the Upside family. Staying involved well over the one-year mark, the pair became incredibly close and never failed to show up and support the team at Upside events.

Te Manu, now an adult himself, and Hayden have decided to come to an 'official close' in their Upside journey. 

Upside Programme Manager, Daryl Powell, tells us the story of how a relationship forged through Upside will last a lifetime. 





Goodbye or till next time?

Hayden and Te manu have reached a new milestone. Te Manu is to move away.

Te Manu gave me a call to let me know he was looking at moving out of Auckland. A family member has passed away and he intends to attend the funeral. Further on from that, he also intends on starting anew. His now-partner has family down the line and have offered up their home as accommodation for them. His partner has an infant and needs a new space and he has agreed to move down with her.

I have relayed the message to Hayden and so has Te Manu. Because the move was quite sudden, we agreed to all catch up (socially distanced) and have a bite to eat and say farewell.

I order our meal before our catch up and I receive a message from Te Manu. He is going to be late to get back home. His car is not starting and they are at his partner's family's home. They have called for roadside assistance and it will take some time.

Hayden and I liaise and agree to meet him where he is so we set our GPS and set off from our respective spaces.


We turn up moments from each other to find the couple waiting on the side of their house waiting for the AA.

We get out and stand by our vehicles and start to chat. I observed the two get on, they are indeed like family - casually picking up from where they left off. It's truly magical to behold the nature of their relationship.

Hayden carries on to talk about the long road trip ahead. "Have you got enough money for fuel?" "Got enough oil and snacks for the road?" "Will you take breaks for yourself and the baby?"

They then talk about grief and the funeral yet to be attended. They speak about loss. About life and hope. "Will you meet new family members?" "What connections do you have and also intend to make?" "Remember to prepare for the day?" "Will you say a few words?"

"Make sure you call me when you are on your way and when you get there so I know you are safe, okay?!", says Hayden.

Time seems to get on but the two don't fall short of conversations to have. There is so much love here and incredible for me to be a fly on the wall.

Mentoring seems to find itself present where it is needed and what a time and opportunity to happen.

The end is not in sight. The two believe they will always be there for each other. Comfortable in each other's space. I have utmost respect for Hayden as a mentor for the kind of relationship he has been able to create. And also to Te Manu for his own journey and self awareness and courage displayed over the journey, to not just participate but build what looks to be a life-long journey/friendship.

It's been four years since the two first embarked on their journey together. Many a moment to cherish and behold. Challenges along the way have come in ebbs and flows but it's been inspiring to witness the two navigate it all.

Where we could, Upside helped along the way but a lot of the work was shown through consistency, growth, shared experiences, lessons and holding space for each other. And even with regularity and frequency coming to a halt, I was blessed to see mentoring stay in the space down to the last minute.

What is mentoring if not about building a quality relationship? Would we not do the same for any loved one in our circle? I like to think that this has turned into a genuine relationship and grounds for friendship.

These last moments happened over cheeseburgers, fries and some rain for dramatic effect. In the end, help arrived and we saw them all fuelled up and on their way.

Hayden and I reflected still afterwards. He says he'll always be here should the road bring them back in the same space.

For now, it ends with goodbye and see you later and we are here if you ever need anything.

P.S. Te Manu let Hayden and I know when he left, was on the way and reached there safely - just as he had promised.