The hardships and emotional toll of being a teenage father can put a lot of pressure on young Pacific men and some may even find the stress overwhelming.
Young father of two, Ingaara Maoate, understands this reality and unfortunately, he’s had friends and family in the same circumstances who didn’t cope well at all. But the builder wants to be a beacon of inspiration to those young fathers who are struggling and wants them to know that someone is always available to listen and to help.
“One thing that happens as a young father is when you’re down, you really feel down. Don’t think about taking your own life. There are always people who can help you – family, friends, professional help even. I know a few family members who have taken their own lives, and that’s been hard. If you need someone to talk to, there are always people out there.”
The 24-year-old was born in the Cook Islands and moved to New Zealand as a child. He admits that he was unsure about becoming a father when he and his partner Grace gave birth to their daughter Ruby when Ingaara was nineteen years old.
But all the anxiety and stress faded immediately when he welcomed his beautiful daughter into the world and held her in his arms. Two months after Ruby’s birth, they were blessed with their second child, their son Rangi. The euphoria he felt having both his children has never diminished and it’s what drives him to keep providing for his young family.
“They definitely weren’t planned but I’m very grateful that my children were born. The challenge I face so far is having to provide and keeping a roof over my family’s head. It’s something you must take responsibility for as a father.
It’s not a burden, it’s definitely a blessing. It is something you learn to appreciate. Take it with both hands and squeeze it tight.”
Date: Saturday 05 September 2020