Teuila’s story

kateThis post was transcribed directly from a focus group recording made during my research. The woman’s name has been changed and any information that could potentially identify her has been removed. In places I have inserted words for clarity (enclosed within square brackets), and in others I have taken out words (indicated by … ), usually because this information contained some identifying features.

Teuila, aged 37, not currently receiving a benefit

I don’t like people at Work & Income. Serious, honest I don’t like people at Work & Income. I don’t like them. … They’re unhelpful. They’re not like respect[ing] us, how they talk. No I don’t like them. … The offices are scary, scary. It’s like a scary office when you go over there. To be honest when I go there, I don’t know if it’s a good person or a bad person. I think … they’re not respect[ing] me.

That lady – my case manager – that’s [a] really scary lady. I don’t like her … I don’t like how she talk[s] and how she ask[s] question, keep[s] asking and she always tell[s] me to look for a job. I said “yeah I can look for a job but I’m still looking”. I’m not gonna go straight over there and they’ll say “oh yeah you can come work tomorrow”. But she keep[s] asking, pushing me to go work …

When I go inside Work and Income my mind just says “oh the scary house” and … I don’t want to go back over there. And [my case manager] always made an appointment for me to go see her every month so she can look for a job for me and I said … “I have to take my kids to school before I start” and she said “Oh you can find a job like when the kids go to school”. I say “Oh that depends [on] the job because you know its more important to take my kids to school and pick them up and make their dinner”.

Sometimes I think some Pakeha people [who] work at Work and Income must look at the colour and think “the Islander no way no help” But [it’s] not supposed to be like that eh? Sometime I think like that. They’re not gonna tell me but sometime I think like that. It must be they look at Island people … look at my colour. [Not one] of my case managers [has been] Māori or Island[er], it’s only Pakeha. I think if my case manager is an Island[er] I don’t know, different or not? But it’s only [been] Pakeha.

Sometimes it make[s] me [think] “oh I want to knock you out “…  When they won’t help or something… They [could] help and explain something to help, but they don’t want to help. [They just] keep talking and say[ing] something I don’t want to listen [to]. … If she says “no help” why does she keep talking to me?

… It’s more helpful when I go with [my social worker]. [The case manager] change[s], like not ask[ing] too many questions. … I’m too scared when I go by myself. The questions. Sometimes when they keep asking questions I didn’t know [if] they have the right to ask that one or not. … I always ask [my social worker] if she wanna come with me ‘cause when I go by myself I [don’t] know [if] the questions are the right questions they have to ask or not. [It’s] good when I go with [my social worker because] she knows what question they can ask or [what] question they can’t ask.

One Comment

  1. I can relate to this poor lady’s story, I never let my parents enter that house of horror without me after my mother once left there crying and it amuses me that the people in the office all know me by name! It must crush them to know despite my mother’s lack of English or knowledge of their legislations etc that she could’ve birthed me, a person who can match their English and recite legislation that contradict the rubbish they try to feed my parents. I’m yet to understand why they even have human beings work for such an organisation when at least a couple computer would at least do their jobs with more accuracy and in most cases have more empathy and heart! Don’t get me wrong I have come across some that are helpful but even so I would still never let my parents stand in that office alone without me! It’s more about their pathetic Policies then it is about helping people anymore!

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