Bruce Stewart says he has always had a dream…he reckons if you haven't got a dream. you're already dead.
He also said, "Looking back, some of my dreams haven't been up to much - at the time though, it was all I knew." One of them landed him in jail. "It was hard going in there. It's good to hit rock bottom, you start to see stuff that turns your life around - one way or the other." But he believes that jail is really a tax funded, 'Advanced Academy of Crime'.
He is also a hunter - it goes hand in hand with the dreaming. He was hunting for a new direction. He found it in Te Ao Hou, a maori magazine, it said:
"The Marae is my home…it is my place of work. The Marae is my kindergarten right through to my university…it is my Museum…my church…my Art Gallery. It is where I was born and where I will be buried."
Bruce got out of jail with $25 and a dream. He lived in a shed in Newtown, Wellington. He found many young maori, homeless and jobless. He became aware of a Maori underclass and the hopelessness.
"It was not their fault, nor their parents," said Bruce. He took them into his shed to survive - they collected expired day old bread rolls from the rubbish tins of the New World supermarket.
He borrowed some flippers and goggles and taught them to dive for Kaimoana (seafood). It was the start of the co-operative movement that spread throughout the country.
There were many gang confrontations. It was a sad time - there were gang related deaths. It changed when a pakeha was killed. "Wellingtons new mayor, Micheal Fowler turned up with a carton of fresh bread and a pound of butter…it was our Christmas dinner" said Bruce. "What can we do to stop this violence? People are terrified" The Mayor asked.
"Help us to live Maori," said Bruce.
"It started a long relationship and many positive enduring changes happened," said Bruce. "Like when the Prime Minister Robert Muldoon came to see us. He was challenged by one of our young people with The Wero - we welcomed him with a Haka Taiaha that shook the earth".