Can a man raised in violence find peace?

The Back Yard
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Facing constant beatings and abuse from his brothers, all Kirk wanted was to be strong himself. With his only goal being revenge, could he win?

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From Revenge Seeker to Helpful Healer

All he wanted was to be strong enough to pay his brothers back for the beatings and abuse they gave to him as a child. All he knew was strength and fighting, could a gentle giant show him that there is another way to be a strong man?


Life started pretty hardcore for me. I was abandoned by our mother and raised by our solo father. All of my decisions, from about eight years old, right through to about 18 years old, were around getting stronger physically so I could pay my brother back. He had choked me so many times and slapped me back to reality as a child. I was so hate-filled. So I chose a fishing job where I could pull in pots by hand, because I'd seen the forearms of a fisherman, and I thought, "Oh wow, that's the perfect job for me."

I came fairly close one day. I was quite strong now. It was during a two hour session at the Road Knights Motorcycle Club and we had tea towels around our fists and we were just battling it out. Boxing, wrestling, a bit of martial arts. I thought I finally had my brother pinned, and I felt quite victorious. But he flipped me, and he pinned me. I wasn't very happy about that.

So I went back to work and we were heading out on the boats. I was asleep and I felt the boat turn around. We'd come back. The boss said to me that my brother had committed suicide. What is shocking tome now is that I had no remorse. I was just full of more hate that someone had taken my opportunity away to get back at him.

So I became a builder. I did my apprenticeship at Naylor Love and started a family and all those types of things. In the midst of all that, I was still getting in trouble and still being quite reckless. And so, instead of going to prison, I channeled it into fighting. And that's what kept me out of jail. Even as a yellow belt, I began to win fights early on: South Island Champs, New Zealand Champs.

Then I had a major motorcycle accident. I was sitting on the couch with a wounded body and I started to ask the questions of, "Who am I and what am I doing?" I was searching for a new martial art to do, which was Mau Rakau, like Maori taiaha, and I met Kereama Tito. I met him at the Murihiku Marae. It was hard to go up there. I was a white supremacist in the past, being with the Road Knights, and here I was trying to go on to a marae. It took me about three times to build the courage to go up tothe gate. But I met this mountain of a man, soft-spoken and gentle. He invited me in.

There were only a couple of guys in there. He sat me down and he just said, "I'm gonna show you what we do and what you can get out of this." And they did a haka and they did their patterns. I was quite astounded that he took the time out just to show me those things. So I joined, and he asked me to come down to his friend's place on Sunday.

I turned up at his friend's place - which was a church. I was very depressed, and very miserable, very hate-filled. I went into this place and I was late and everyone was talking and laughing. And I'd never experienced that before because I'd grown up in a culture of tall poppy syndrome: tear people down to feel better. So it was really weird. But something resonated in my heart. It was good. And so I stayed.

What two and a half years of counseling couldn't accomplish, I got accomplished in two to three hours through a Sozo. They were connecting me with Father God and Jesus. I got to forgive my brother for all the beatings and a bit of hatred left me. I got to forgive my older sibling who sexually abused me and a bit more was released. I got to forgive my father for never coming to one of my fights. And that hatred left me and I was like a new man. I was refreshed. I was young-minded again. I would go to the supermarket and want to cuddle old ladies. That's how much I was freed from all of that stuff.

I've stuck with the church. I'm part of the Sozo Ministry now, and I get to see healing in others. I've got a lot of beautiful friends who actually truly care for me and call me. Any peoplewatching this who are struggling with internal turmoil, I would suggest find some good people, share your story with them, and spend the rest of your life really just living a better life.

The Back Yard

Set in amongst the beautiful native bush, people unpack the stories that have shaped their lives. Whether it is a journey through grief or finding a purpose for living life itself, we discover the beauty and power of a loving God.

Full series


Release Date:
July 13, 2022
6 mins
Kirk Lawrence

This content has not been independently classified. Parental guidance recommended. Adult themes.