I saw the mountain erupt: a Kawerau childhood

‘I never imagined that was your life,’ an old flatmate once said. ‘You’re just so… bougie.’ Fair cop. If the government’s social investment approach had been around when my sisters and I were growing up, perhaps our family would have been identified as a target for monitoring and intervention. Teenage mother and gang father in the country’s poorest town — here is a ‘problem’ family. But this is an essay about why things were not as simple as that.