It was after being homeless, falling into addiction and numerous prison sentences when Owen Pomana turned his life around and decided to help others to do the same. He was 25-years-old and on the cusp of a promising personal training and bodybuilding career when it all fell apart.
When his father passed away it drove him to leave high school and join the Royal New Zealand Navy. After spending seven and a half years in the Navy he found the “love of his life” who he says later betrayed him with his best friend. This caused him into a deep state of depression.
“I decided to leave New Zealand with only $500, a bag of clothes and a one-way plane ticket to Kings Cross, Australia,” he said. Within a week he found himself homeless living on a park bench with a cardboard box to shield himself, and newspaper to keep him warm. “I would clean myself in the public toilet and wander the streets in search of food and a job. I couldn’t bring myself to ask for help.” Life continued along a downward spiral, as he became caught up in a life of sex, drugs and gangs.
“I was on the run from police all the time and ended up serving my first sentence in Silverwater Maximum Security Prison,”. The downward spiral continued and he began running from not only police, but hitmen and fighting bike gangs while being addicted to methamphetamine and crack cocaine. “In the end I was beaten by five guys, stabbed multiple times and had my ear ripped off and eye pulled out.”
At one point he remembers sitting on a beach high on methamphetamine with his Taiaha and a .45 calibre and said, “God if you are real – Help me”. “I ended up finding a Gideon Bible that my friend had given me in my back pocket and that is where it all started.”
“In 2009 I was released from Australian prison and escorted back to New Zealand and given a lifetime ban from Australia.” After returning to New Zealand and sharing his story, Pomana has ministered in 50 nations in the past seven years. “I go over to places like Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand and Japan, and minister in orphanages, hospitals, old people’s homes, schools and prisons. “I have ministered to the poor, rich and slaves. The last three services for the Bali 9 guys, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.”
“I know and have experienced most of the problems that these people are going through. If my life story brings hope i’ll continue to pursue it until I die,” Pomana said. “We go out with the intention to get these people back into homes, set up with a job and for some just to get an identity.”