Michael Mendes

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Introduction
Ko Te Mihi Tuatahi ki a Allah
I firstly give thanks to Allah

Ko MaungaTaniwha te Maunga
Mangataniwha is my mountain

Ko Utukura te awa
Utukura is my river

Ko Hokianga te moana
Hokianga is my ocean

Ko Rarawa te Iwi
Rawana is my tribe

Ko Ngai Tupoto te hapu
Tupoto is my meeting house

Ko Nga Huia te marae
Nga Huia is my marae

Life before Islam
I’m of Maori, Aitutaki, Va’vau decent. Born and raised in Grey Lynn New Zealand.

I was raised by my mums parents, my nan (grandmother) is Cook Islander and my Koro (grandfather) is Maori. I lived with them until they passed away when I was 12yrs old.

When my grandparents passed I had to live with my mum and step dad, they both had drug addictions and violence was the normal in our lives, as my dad was in the Head Hunters so the club was a big part of our lives.

My first encounter with a Muslim.
My shop keeper was a Pakistani Muslim. I had Muslim school friends from primary till university, but never was given Dawah by any of them, till I met the Maori Muslim brothers visiting my now new Muslim flatmate, who was my longtime drinking druggy bro.

This bro took me into his home after hearing the judge saying, "unless you can find a safe house to live your going to jail," that brother stood up in court and told the judge "he can live with me," after the police checked his address was void of drugs and alcohol to my surprise cleared me to live there.

My Conversion.
These Maori Muslims were coming around and watching state of origin, bringing Kai, watching lectures on all subjects and one movie softened my heart, The Message with Anthony Quin as Hamzah.

Being Rastafarian at the time it made me question the teachings of the bible, the brothers said to challenge Allah to ask Allah for guidance and proof of his existence.

I made dua’a that if I were to become Muslim for a Camel to walk down the road we live, as we had horses walk down every day being semi rural area.

The next day I woke and went up the road to get me a pork roll with apple sauce and crackle and a box of 10% Codys.

When I got to our front gate a Muslim brother was dropping off pita bread for free but the picture on the truck was a Camel walking up a street, I knew right there I was going to be Muslim.

The next day I learned about wudu (the washing for prayer) and all the brothers Himi Taka, Yousif Taka, Matua Esa, Abu Baka Strang, and Abu Ali witness my shahada at Musjid Ummah.

What do I love about Islam?
It parallels with my Polynesian cultures and guides my mind body and soul to the purpose I’ve been seeking all my life, my children have come to Islam and my family have accepted me for who I am through my character change.

My family likes my changes.
My mother who was a staunch catholic has now softened her heart towards Islam and is leaning about prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, may Allah guide my mother to Islam Ameen.

How has Islam improved me as person?
As a person I’ve become a better son, father, brother, nephew, cousin, friend, worker, boss and all round human being.

As a Maori Polynesian Muslim what challenges have I faced?
Being Maori our temperament is firey, so we need to focus on softening our hearts, rather than agitating that fire with political speakers.
I have reimmerse myself into the spiritual aspect of Islam to gain spiritual balance peace and growth.