To my friend Tammy,

Tammy Te HuiaI will never forget asking you to ‘tell me your story’ in your interview for Agoge. Most people shy away from the question and lack authenticity, however your answer was powerful, rich and beautiful.

Your words told of pain and tragedy.

Your words spoke of love for your girls.

Your words reflected a desire for people and growth and purpose.

In that moment I knew you were meant to join our team at Agoge and you fit into the team like the missing piece of our puzzle. You are an amazing recruiter who loves to interview and cares about everyone you met. More importantly you understand Agoge and what we value and stand for.

As we have journeyed your fight with cancer together, I seldom feel that the words I speak to encourage you, do justice to the person you are. So here is my feeble attempt at writing words I struggle to say.

When I hear Courageous, I think of you.
You are so courageous. Even before I met you, your life, struggles and story had built in you a strength and determination many long for, but few experience. In your love for the Chance and Hayze , your love for Tom, at home, in your friendships, in your work, in your netball, and even in your sickness, you display such courage to fight for the things that are important to you. The courage to love. To reach out to those who need you. To care. To organise everyone.  And the courage to try, when others would give up.

When I hear Aroha, I think of you.
The Maori word aroha seems so much richer in meaning than that lazy English word love. Aroha seems to blend love, and giving, and compassion, and action together into one verb. Aroha seems to naturally describe you Tammy. You are so giving, so caring, so selfless, and so loving. You continually put the needs of others before yourself, not because you have to, but because of your genuine natural aroha for all the people in your life.
To be courageous is one thing. But to have courage and aroha at the same time is unique and inspirational.

Your courage and aroha inspire me to live more fully.

Thank you for saying yes to working at agoge. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for inspiring me.

Aroha nui

I wrote this post and Tammy read it a month or so ago.  I have been waiting for the right time to make it public. As she grows weary from her fight, I feel as though now is the right time.

I hope it’s again an encouragement to Tammy. I hope it might inspire those of you who know Tammy to encourage her and bring some words of beauty into her difficult days.

If you don’t know how to start maybe you could start with “When I hear …., I think of you”. Maybe those words will be something you can learn from Tammy, that will stay with you forever. Courageous and Aroha certainly will for me.

Post it on Facebook, txt her or even write her a letter.

Aroha to all of you.


[Updated 28 June 2013]

In memory of Tammy Bubs Potania Te Huia | 30 Dec 1978 –  27 Jun 2013

I miss you already


NB: Finally the photo is one we took at Agoge under a year ago (Sep 2012), of her being crazy at her desk.