I am Taniere Ngakuru
currently living in Katikati
Martial status: single.
Life before Islam.
My family and friends are Christians so that was my environment, from the age of 16 to 27 years old. It was work and partying.
My first encounter with a Muslim.
I had a Muslim friend at school but he wasn't practicing. When I was in Melbourne ,Australia I worked in sales and their were alot of Lebanese people that I was interacting with. So I learned a few words like Alhumdulilah and Wallah from them.
I had a Lebanese friend and I was complaining to her about my insomnia.
She asked me what position do I sleep in? I said "my stomach".
She said "You should never sleep on your stomach, that's the position Satan sleeps!"
She told me to "Sleep on your right side". Which I did and since then, I have been able to sleep.
I researched into what she said and started learning more about Islam as I knew nothing about Islam only what I had seen on TV.
It took a while as my friend wasn't practicing, I knew nothing about Allah and the Prophet Muhammad.
My friend said we (Muslims) believe in all the Prophets, the Bible and Jesus.
I said to her, "you don't believe in Jesus" and she said "we do".
So I researched and the more I searched the more I learned and loved it.
I returned to New Zealand and went to a Masjid in Auckand, the brothers there didn't speak very good English, but they gave me a Quran in English. I went home and read it and tears rolled down my face. This is amazing I said to myself.
On Eid Al Adha 2019, it was a Friday, I went to the Mosque and said my shahada.
All the brothers embraced me and shook my hand.
I felt amazing like a new person. The Imam told me to be aware of the trials and tribulations that I may encounter and to stand firm.
What do I love about Islam?
I love how it's made me more closer to Allah, I'm grateful for everything the good and the bad.
Islam has given me a huge paradigm shift in how I walk, talk, lower my gaze.
I am not perfect but I look at life with a different view.
How has Islam improved me as person?
I am more grateful for everything, more conscience respectful and charitable to people.
My family likes my changes.
My family have been supportive and saw it coming as I always asked so many questions around faith and the trinity.
My family and friends didn't know anything about Islam only what they saw on TV, so I have had discussions with them about it and enlightened them.
As a Māori Muslim what challenges I have faced?
Being isolated in a town with no Muslims.
When I was in Auckland I was surrounded by Muslims and getting the support I needed
There was a revert group picnic every month which was awesome. Now I keep my self encouraged through online lectures and books.