Returning to Wellington, the beginning of a new chapter.

After moving to Melbourne to focus on Hip Hop but getting stuck in lockdowns for over 2 years I was forced to reassess my priorities in life.  So, after 6 years in Australia between Northern rivers NSW and Melbourne city I made the move to return to New Zealand to be closer to family. 

I’ve been back in Wellington for just over 1 year now.  I was apprehensive to return to New Zealand for a long time because I was afraid that coming back would erase all the personal development that I’ve achieved since I left the country 6 years ago.  It’s been a strange thing returning to a city where I lived 15 years ago.  I feel like I’m starting again in life but with 36 years of experience. 

It’s a trip to walk around this city covered in landmarks that symbolize a version of myself that I killed off in the interests of personal growth.  I’m back in a city where my commitment to political activism deepened, setting my life on the path towards forest blockading and long-term civil disobedience campaigns.  I’ve grown and changed so much since then that it’s difficult to describe.  Put simply, being back here makes me feel like an alien in a parallel universe.  Everything feels strangely familiar but I’m alone out here. I don’t have any old friends in this city because everyone I knew is attached to an ideology that I have moved on from. 

I originally moved to Wellington from Auckland in my early 20’s (around 2006-2007).  I was living with punks in a squat in Newtown, hanging out in the scene and becoming more immersed in political activism across issues including anti-war, feminism, Tino Rangatiratanga and animal rights.  I was one of the rare people in Wellington that went to punk gigs and frequented 128 community center where the majority of grass roots activism was organised.  Even though these groups had a lot in common they generally both hated each other. The activists complained about the punk’s nihilistic binge drinking and generally chaotic / anti-social behavior, And the punk’s made fun of the activists for being socially awkward, judgmental do-gooders.  I spent time in both worlds because I saw the good in both groups.  To me the punks showed integrity by living their lifestyles by a code of d.i.y community-oriented events, while I had respect for the activists for daring to fight for what they believed in on a broader socio-political scale.  During this time, I also volunteered at the animal rights op shop and that’s where an activist associate one day introduced me to the Tasmanian forest movement. 


Fast forwarding now to 2016, when after 2 years of therapy for post-traumatic stress I knew that survival meant to re-imagine my entire existence from the ground up.  I needed to escape New Zealand because I felt suffocated by the limiting beliefs of my peers.  I really didn’t have a plan other than knowing that I needed to allow myself to become more than the depressed leftist stereotype people saw me as.  I flew back to Australia and spent time in various spots along the east coast where I got heavily into meditation and worked on writing and rapping a lot. 

They say that when you start becoming your authentic self you lose a lot of people, and this would basically describe my experience over the last 6+ years.  I made a conscious effort to untether myself from the political allegiances that had led me down a dark path of depression and trauma.  A necessary part of this was making a personal commitment to disregard the judgment of people that didn’t have genuine love for me.  I cut all ties to ideology to re-invest everything I had left on personal growth, music, and creativity. 

During this time, I joined a 12-month online mastermind and got heavily into Qi Gong meditation and daily gratitude journaling.  I was alienating myself from my closest friends by starting to see both sides of issues and moving away from a victimhood mindset.   

This was a conscious process that gradually broke down many elements of my identity which were no longer serving me.  Daily Qi Gong practice completely transformed my life.  I practice the principles daily as a conscious effort to manage the rage I feel from adhd and ptsd related triggers.  The ancient Chinese practice showed me that we can channel all the power we need from the energy of the universe in order to create whatever type of life we want.  I found this mentality to be a lot more liberating than spending my whole life blaming the system for the fact that my personal life was in shambles.  I saw that we are so much more powerful and capable than we realize and therefore, any excuse is nothing but self-imposed limits and self-sabotage.

From then on, the lens I had viewed the world through for my entire adult life gradually began to melt away.   Eventually the ideology of the left seemed more like a psychological operation designed to limit our potential more than a serious movement for social change.  They sell us the slogans to blame the system for all our problems which become convenient excuses for lives wasted with no ambition, dreams, or purpose.  I’ve been through a lot, and I still believe in many of the causes I fought for.  But I stopped wanting to ‘save the world’ when I started healing and I realized that most people want things to complain about more than they want genuine solutions to their problems.  Simply, I stopped protesting or blaming the ‘right wing’ for everything wrong with the world when I saw that more potent change can be made by doing the necessary inner work.


After burning out from forest activism, I moved to Greymouth on the west coast of New Zealand to study a diploma in outdoor instruction and guiding (2014-2016). I didn’t even know what PTSD was at this stage, but I had my first public flash back / panic attack while on this course.  It was shocking to find myself suddenly breaking down in tears and losing control after seeing an excavator digging rocks in the river while I was learning to roll a kayak. I didn’t know what was happening.  My tutor was kind to me, but I could see that he was surprised to see this spontaneous mental brake-down from the weird activist punk on his course. 

This course was challenging for many reasons.  Including the fact that I was dealing with a lot of grief and self-imposed guilt for not doing activism anymore.  Despite the personal challenges, studying guiding in wild places was a great opportunity for me to spend time in nature and begin my re-integration into mainstream society.  Activities like white water rafting and rock climbing build a certain type of comradery because on the river or the crag opinions on broader political issues become abstract and unimportant compared with the character of the individuals around you.  In these pursuits you want to know that you can trust someone to pull you out of the river or catch you when you fall rock climbing more than who they vote for.  During this time, I started to see that people I had nothing in common with politically would support me in ways that my political allies lacked the capacity for.  In an unexpected way this course provided the proof I needed that those we disagree with aren’t ‘bad’ or operating off evil intentions.  They just view the world differently and there are often rational reasons for that.         


After Greymouth I moved down to Dunedin.  At the time I was aware that I had issues with depression and anxiety, so I began seeking therapy.  And, for better or for worse, I now know what they mean when they say, ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn’.  As I started peeling back the layers of traumatic experiences my mental health took a drastic nose-dive.  I started experiencing frequent flashbacks and graphic nightmares.  I became supremely depressed, a two-year romantic relationship abruptly ended which sent me on a self-destructive rampage for multiple months. Eventually I ended up spending a week in the psych-ward where I started on the SSRI’s that I’m still on today.

The best thing about hitting rock bottom was that I was forced to reassess everything that I believed. My fucked-up situation forced me to admit that I was no longer qualified to dismiss any idea without genuine investigation.  It’s funny because I’ve been criticized by a bunch of old friends for appearing to ‘betray my values’ by untethering myself from everything I was familiar with.  But, in reality, I was diving deeper into the core principles that led me to the left to begin with. 

I had served the environment movement for 5 years in the trenches.  Living in the rainforest for long stretches, tree-sitting every day for months on end, organizing countless non-violent protest actions, getting arrested and locked up more times than I care to remember.  I’ve been stripped naked and left in a cell then intentionally kept from attending afternoon court for no reason.  I’ve witnessed the destruction of ancient forests alone in a tree for two weeks during the January ‘09 bust in the Upper Florentine, and again for three days during the May ‘09 bust where I had climbing equipment sabotaged by search and rescue police.  I spent 3 days in remand after a ship blockade in the Hobart harbor - eventually getting released on $10,000 surety with a bail agreement not to engage in ‘illegal’ protest.  At one time I had bail conditions not to have any climbing equipment in my house.  I was sentenced to 400 hours community service gardening at a nunnery for protesting.  I compromised my physical safety frequently, sacrificed my sanity and lost a job because of my fanatical commitment to the forest movement.  I’ve found it very difficult to relate and readjust to mainstream society because generally everything that people value seems so trivial after being exposed to the raw reality of what the world is really like.  I protested so much that Tasmanian search and rescue knew me by name.  The police in Hobart would follow me around when they saw me in the city because they always suspected I was up to something.  After 5 years I left Tasmania economically destitute and mentally broken. I was so out of my body that I was in chronic physical pain, and I didn’t even realise until I’d been away from the island for 18 months.  While everyone else was out there building their own lives I had given everything, and I was left with nothing.  And still, when I dare to diverge from the group think of leftist orthodoxy, my opinions are dismissed as ‘crazy’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘selfish’ rather than discussed on their merits.  It’s a cult. You’re allowed to think but only within an approved framework.  They’ve created a monster where memorising and reciting the current ‘correct opinion’ is more socially beneficial than being honest with yourself. 

An example of the hostile group think that I was forced to distance myself from played out on Facebook one day when I shared an article about how common it is for sex crimes perpetrated against men to go unreported.  I honestly didn’t even think this would be controversial in any way.  Soon after, an old friend comments on my post to inform me that ‘men’s issues don’t rate a mention until violence against woman is resolved’.  Without a hint of irony.  This is the disconnected way that these people think; 1, as if violence against men isn’t a valid issue on its own, and 2, as if violence against woman could be resolved without dealing with the root of men’s issues.  If the feminist movement is legitimately about reducing violence in society, it’s illogical to disregard the experiences of an entire group of people and expect progress to be made.  Peace comes from balance, but the modern feminist movement for which my friend was grandstanding for, seems to be more focused on vengeance against men in rather than making logical steps towards a holistic state of harmony in society.

It’s like the new left has flipped the essence of Martin Luther Kings Jnr’s speech.  Where he said ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character…’   

Now, the content of one’s character is irrelevant compared to the intersectional calculation of perceived oppression by factors of gender, race and chosen group identity. 

The more I started accepting reality for what it is; embracing masculinity, strategizing within the confines of capitalism, meditating and trusting my instincts - the more hate and smears I received.  Friends of mine criticized me when I started a skate school because ‘the kids who need it most can’t afford it’.  Any divergence from what the orthodoxy prescribes as holy scripture results in accusations of working for the other team.  They find any degree of nuance to be an offensive erosion of commitment to what they’re told is the ‘correct’ opinion.  I was once kicked out of an ‘Anarchist’ squat in Melbourne and accused of being a ‘crypto fascist’ for saying that although I don’t like Jordan Peterson, I think there are some good elements to his message.  During the Covid 19 pandemic I was told by academic leftists that my views on lockdowns were invalid because I hadn’t studied politics at university.  People think I’m ‘crazy’ for believing in God even though all their political heroes were deeply religious.  Literally every step I took to improving myself was criticized and attacked because they could sense they were losing control of me.  And it’s not that I think every leftist ideal is insane or evil.  I still live by many of them today.  My issue is that any community that shuns the growth of the individuals who belong to it is a suicide machine for young men and woman desperate for purpose in life. It’s kind of a sad thing to admit, but I didn’t have friends, I had a legion of narcissistic leeches who wouldn’t be satisfied until they had sucked my life force dry, then smeared me for being a ‘bad person’ when I finally snapped at them.      


Being back in Wellington makes my transformation feel real.  People I was once reasonably close to now stare through me like a pariah.  Although I now know that there was never anything real in those relationships, it’s been painful to experience alienation from a community that I gave so much of my life to. 

People in this community accuse me of being a paranoid conspiracy theorist without understanding the life experience that has informed my nuanced world view.  I don’t trust the media or any powerful institution because I know from experience that they are all corrupt by nature. 

I’ve been in the trenches to film forests being clear-felled after government, media and mainstream environment groups had broadcasted to the world that they were being protected under moratorium.  The public and even some activists believed it because they saw it on the television and they wanted it to be true. 

We were then forced to divert campaign rescores to combat the dishonest messaging of opportunistic careerists in the mainstream environment groups (The Wilderness Society, Australian Conservation Foundation etc.).  Nobody knows this history because there is no financial incentive to tell the story, but I’ve seen enough to know that everything we’re shown is all theatre. Therefore, I remain sceptical of all narratives but never dismiss a theory until it’s been unequivocally disproven.  The media is a coercive institution more psychological operation than dispersal of information. They think they know what’s best for you and they will tell you what they need to, to get you to do what they want. Anyone who dispute’s this is either being dishonest or doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  If you’re not watching the news as if they’re all characters in a TV drama, then you’re taking it all way too seriously. 


Choosing this path has been anything but glamorous and I have lacked grace plenty of times.  I’ve thrown myself into high levels of challenge with the intention to heal and learn as much as possible in the shortest period of time.  Piece by piece I’ve been putting in the work to fully transform my mind and body. I’ve grown from a self-destructive, deeply depressed burnout into an artist and amateur athlete.  It’s been an uphill slog, but it feels good to begin to experience the payoff from the winding path I’ve been on. 

For the last few years, I immersed myself in the Melbourne Hip Hop scene and levelled up my skills producing and performing rap music.  Since I’ve been back in New Zealand, I’ve got heavily into long distance running and on the 25th of June I ran my first Marathon race here in Wellington city.  I’ve dropped 4 new tracks since I’ve been back and I’m prepping for my first battle in Auckland as I write this.  Everything I’m doing with my life now is things that I dreamed of but didn’t think would be possible ten years ago.  Moving away from the friends and lifestyle that was comfortable allowed me to step into the man I was supposed to become.  I’m not afraid of any social repercussions of living my truth because I’ve learnt from experience that there is no consequence worse than the hell of living an inauthentic life. 

This period of my life has been tough but being alone has allowed me the time to be distraction-free. I’m excited about beginning a new chapter as a long-distance runner, establishing myself as a battle rapper and leveling up as bedroom recording artist.  The lesson is that you never know what you can achieve by having the courage to step out of situations that are no longer serving you.  One of the biggest life lessons I picked up from training for the marathon was the importance of building a strong base from which to launch into ambitious challenges.  

I used to feel so distracted but now a strong foundation of healthy habits is a non-negotiable in my life.  I’m living much slower but streamlining my life according to my values and achieving way more.  Above all, I’m grateful for my journey and happy to be finding genuine purpose and good people out in the world.  

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and stay posted for future developments, new music and battle announcements. 


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