Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Mother and daughter aim for brighter year

Last year was difficult for Pauline Bushett and her daughter Olive - but they're both hoping 2013 will be better.

Pauline won tickets in The Daily Post competition to see Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in concert in April and hoped the tickets would inspire Olive, 16, to get her life back on track after the suicide of their son and brother Tima earlier in the year.

Olive was a gifted singer in a range of disciplines but had lost her passion for music after her brother's death.

Although the concert was a high point in their year, things continued to get worse for mother and daughter.

Pauline lost her mother in August and soon after found out she was being made redundant.

Olive had left school and although she was spending a lot of time at home, Pauline said she wasn't helping out around the house.

Their relationship was strained and Pauline ended up asking her daughter to move in with her father.

"We have sorted things out and it's working fine with Olive living with her dad but she hasn't sung at all.

"Olive had an exceptional voice for opera but she can sing anything - when she was really little, like 3, she used to get really excited for the rugby and she would sing along to the national anthem. Then when the game came on she would leave - she could sing it in all different styles by the time she was 4."

Pauline was considering moving to Australia this year to get a new start in life.

A major issue Olive was facing was her lack of employment. After Tima died, she had the words "live life" tattooed across her knuckles.

"It's one of those things that in hindsight she probably wouldn't have done," Pauline said.

Olive said she had been given a number of job interviews and in one situation, things had even progressed to a trial - until staff saw her tattoo.

Although she doesn't regret getting a tattoo as it was for her brother, she said getting it on her hands was a mistake and she would have it removed if she could afford to.

She will be attending Waiariki Institute of Technology next year and hoped she could get in to the Academy of Singing and Music.

"School wasn't my thing but I do hope to get further education. I'd like to get into performing and become a better singer, I've also been writing songs."

Olive said there was not a lot out there for aspiring singers. She had unsuccessfully auditioned for New Zealand's Got Talent and was hoping to have a go at X Factor this month.

"There's not many opportunities but I still enjoy singing. The Dame Kiri concert was pretty special - I still boast about it. Meeting someone that's world famous and seeing what someone's done and what I can turn out to be."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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