The super-volunteer guiding Ōtara youth by fixing bikes
It’s not often you’ll meet someone who will prioritize voluntary work over employment, but that’s exactly what Ōtara father-of-seven Scott Tulua has been doing for almost two decades. He loves helping people, and his latest venture as a bike mechanic is carrying on the tradition.
By Anauli Karima Fai’ai
Scott Tulua always goes above and beyond, and when it comes to fixing bikes, it’s no different.
“I always make sure I can get it back on the road,” he says.
It all started when he was a teenager, fixing up abandoned bikes for his own use.
Two decades later, he’s a qualified bike mechanic with his own workshop called S Double S Services with the aim to get more Ōtara locals on bikes.
“It’s therapy when you’re out in the open riding your bike and just being able to go through anywhere, anytime.”
“You don’t have to pay anything; it’s free to ride a bike.”
The local youth is his constant source of motivation; he knows all too well the importance of being surrounded by the right people.
“I grew up in that area where it was just all gangs. I think that was the challenge – just being able to walk away from it and decide to do something better.”
“As soon as my kids were born, for me it was – I gotta change my ways, I gotta change the way I do things so that things can be better for my kids.”
His new lease on life led him to voluntary work, first as a rugby league coach then a volunteer for various community initiatives, turning down a number of paid jobs along the way.
“I enjoy just helping the community. Money doesn’t mean anything to me; doing something to get paid is not me.”
“If it’s something that’s going to help someone then that’s me and that’s my payment man – is just seeing someone happy.”
But for his wife, Titi, all his voluntary work did take some getting used to.
“At first, because [for] me, a paid job is everything; you need money here, you need money for that… But seeing the blessings, it’s just not through money,” she said.
“As long as we have the basics, we have a roof above our heads, we have clothes, shoes, that’s all we needed.”
Scott’s latest venture carries on the tradition, operating on the smell of an oily rag. But there’s no other way he would rather work.
“The way we run here is all on donations, and it’s working. The little bit that we’re making is enough to get us through; we don’t need the thousands and thousands of dollars, because it’s unnecessary for what we need it for.”
There’s only one payment he needs to keep this place going.
“For me man, it’s just seeing smiles on people’s faces man – when I give them a bike or when I’ve repaired their bike and just seeing their responses and massive smiles – that’s me man.”