Latu To’omaga: Breaking the cycle

Latu To'omaga talks about how his own early trauma has shaped and influenced his practice as an educator and community connector.

Latu To'omaga

My story is one of many.. but one of a survivor and an achiever.

Childhood trauma is something I have had to come to terms with and unpacked as an adult. Experiencing abuse or trauma can have a big impact on a child’s mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.  

I have always desired to teach since the age of ten. I set this goal for myself and worked hard to achieve it. Empathy and compassion drew my interest towards child psychology.  In particular I was drawn to children who had experienced trauma. By using my own experiences, I knew I would be able to help them develop their own tools and strategies for moving past what they have experienced.  

The importance of support

As an adult and parent I had to unpack my inner working model which was largely based  around my past. By breaking down the obstacles and challenges that were part of me, I was then able to parent in a loving, nurturing and caring way. This wasn’t easy to do and involved a lot of reflection and hard work, but I had support networks around me that helped me work through this. Strong community support networks are really vital for whānau. These made me become a stronger parent and friend.

By having excellent role models around me every day, I have learned how to build quality relationships, set new goals and learn new parenting strategies. My past trauma and upbringing has helped me to reflect on positive answers to life, especially in parenting. 

Bringing the positive vibes 

Now, I like to think of myself as someone who can bring positive vibes to a relationship. I have the opportunity to work with people who are in similar situations to my own. Through my experience I help them find their strengths and develop an action plan to move towards their own positive outcomes.

Dealing with and moving past trauma is hard but not impossible, if you have the right people around you and persistence you can get through. 

I encourage you to draw on your past experiences and walk alongside whānau who are in similar situations to yourself. 

How can you help break the cycle?

About Latu To’omaga 

Latu joined the SKIP team in July 2019 as a community champion. Latu is of Samoan descent and was brought up surrounded by the rich Pasifika cultures in Porirua. He is passionate about supporting the community and improving the wellbeing of whānau. He has a Masters in Educational Psychology, Bachelor of Teaching, Diploma of Primary Teaching, is a Brainwave Trust Educator, fitness instructor and assessor. 

Family is everything to Latu, he is a proud son to his 85 year-old Mum and has 13 siblings. As a single parent he dedicates his love and attention to the treasures that need him the most – his three amazing children – Max 15, Rosa 13 going on 21 and Levi who is 9.