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"I had a needle in my arm, ​I’d be dressed in a business suit, in and out of one bank after the other, that was what my whole day went like. Going from bank to bank just chasing cheques and swiping stolen gold cards.​"
                                                                                              - Jessica Apanui


Facing the harsh reality of living her worst nightmare, Jess was left with two choices: ‘the pipe’ or her tamariki. Methamphetamine took Jess’ wairua once. How can she ensure it won’t happen again? No longer a slave to the ‘p’ pipe, she is now on a relentless mission to reconcile the past and break the cycle of addiction for others. As she takes an emotional journey home, Jess must embody mana not trauma.

Jessica on TodayFMTova O'Brien
00:00 / 08:58

Mana over Meth is about your daughter, your son, your mokopuna, your loved ones. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It will remain hidden behind many shapes and forms - mental health, suicide, childhood trauma, sexual abuse - if we don’t start sharing our stories with each other. Let’s change the narrative.

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Jess is a proud Ngati Porou wāhine, with classic kiwi humour and sharp honesty. She's a bright bubbly Westie with big goals and ambition no one is stopping her this time. Hailing from Te Araroa, Jess grew up in a West Auckland home of violence and substance abuse: Jess was witness to things she can never unsee.  ​

At the age of 12, Jess started using drugs as a way to fit in and to mask the hurt and fear she was experiencing. Her life continued to spiral out of control, hoping that becoming a mother would be the change she needed. Unfortunately, meth had sunk its hooks in deep and Jess had no way out.  Jess continued her life of addiction and crime as her debts grew and she cut her whānau off. Eventually she started manufacturing meth in her West Auckland home.  ​

In her mid-thirties Police raided her house, and what they found could have put her behind bars for a long time. This was the moment she had to make a decision: put the pipe down or spend time inside. The fear of jail and losing her tamariki brought Jess to her knees and was the motivation to clean up.​

Today,  Jess is 2½ years clean with the gift of Recovery. Now an advocate for helping whānau who are trying to get clean, she documents her journey on her Facebook page Life Beyond Meth (LBM) with 3.9k followers. Jess is a busy mother slowing changing her community, one addict at a time. ​

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Mana Over Meth is part of the award-winning Loading Docs initiative,  created to develop New Zealand filmmaking talent. Loading Docs is funded by NZ On Air with support from NZFC and Te Māngai Pāho. 


Mana over Meth was also crowd-funded with generous donations from those who care about this korero.


Ngā mihi.


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