A powerful story of struggle, resilience and love

02 July 2019

Naoupu Halle Tupuivao sharing her story at the MYSTORY Summit.

31-year-old single mother of three, Naoupu Halle Tupuivao shared her heart-warming story entitled ‘In the Neighbourhood’, written from a parent’s perspective at the recent MYSTORY Summit in South Auckland.

Naoupu spoke about how she overcame challenges using poetry to express her feelings before she shared her story of struggle, resilience and love for her kids, and especially her autistic son.

“My son’s autism can be challenging but also inspiring and he is loved,” says Naoupu.

“New Zealand has lots of work to do, especially in schools about raising awareness and inclusion of the autistic community.”

“It's tough getting him to school as the school offers little support and understanding about coping with an autistic child.” This is where Naoupu rallied other parents with autistic children to look for support and resources.

“We went through challenging times. People need to understand that autisim can be unsettling but that those affected are not being purposefully disruptive. They just need to understand them better.”

“People need to hear it, and those relating to my story need to speak up.”

Naoupu says the Summit creates an important space for people, young and old, to share their stories and she has a message for others who have children affected by autism.

“Don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions. Ask other parents who have an autistic child what it's like. Approach it in a friendly manner and reach out for support and resources. As a parent of an autistic child you need to live on perseverance and patience.”

The audience were honoured to have passionate people like Naoupu who shared her story from a parent’s perspective, and this is important for the further development of the MYSTORY framework.

“I’m incredibly proud to share my story living and raising my children in South Auckland, especially with my autistic son,” says Naoupu. “He's taught us a lot about his autism, and continues to do so.”

For more information about autism, visit, or phone: 0800 AUTISM (0800 288 476)

The MYSTORY Summit focussed on two key areas: The Art of Storytelling and a Call to Action. The Summit was highly interactive, with a range of speakers and involved sharing in small huddle groups, with plenty of information to keep participants informed and asking questions.

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