Welcome, Everyone!


Welcome, New Zealand and the rest of the World! 

You are now viewing the beta version of The Chap-man Chronicles website. It is currently still under development and testing by Faith in Families Foun-dation assisted by Digital Summit Limited. From what has been done thus far, there is still much to be accomplished by way of its completion. 

The purpose of this website is to consolidate, ar-chive and make available to the World Wide Web all relevant information re-garding a holistic transformational development (HTD) process for community development called ‘The Awhi Way’ that Sam Chapman developed over a 40-year period. 

Sam wishes to make some parts of this site already available for public viewing in order to serve our people more – by way of strengthening and developing the Awhi Foundation as a community organisation committed to The Awhi Way initiatives nationwide. 

It is but a part of a new direction and renewed effort which the Awhi Foundation is now undertaking to ensure that relevant information, infrastructure, manage-ment and systems will be put in place to achieve quality and excellence in Awhi Foundation’s delivery and accountability to a wider base of stakeholders as well as enhancing the capacity and effectiveness of those stakeholders involved in working in the field of social change. 


Today, it is difficult to deny that there is a heartfelt “dissatisfaction with what is”. New Zealanders are dissatisfied doing what has always been done and get-ting the same results time and again. They are dissatisfied with imposed exter-nal solutions that continue to create greater dependency instead of indepen-dence. 

It is not the ‘somewhere’ but rather, the ‘something’ missing they need to have to get there. That ‘something’ is a desire ‘for what could be’. 

People who have walked with Sam ‘The Awhi Way’ have always started their journey by expressing an oft said set of questions: “I want to start taking charge of my own life and circumstances, but don’t know how to? I want to move away from today’s endless frustrations, to tomorrow’s motivations. I need to understand and then make the pace of change work for rather than against me and my family. How do I do that?” 

What all these voices are saying, and what this clamour represents at the grass roots level is – a strong desire to strengthen the capacity of whānau (family); being allowed to enable themselves first; and, being able to take on full own-ership and responsibilities of providing for their own loved one’s social and eco-nomic well-being and security in an understandable and sustainable way. For decades, this is what Sam has helped people do. 


By being transparent early on about The Awhi Way, Sam aims to encourage both our national and local governments and their agencies, socially-oriented organisations and corporate entities to come to-gether and actively participate in Awhi Founda-tion’s family- and community-oriented programmes, projects, initiatives and activities by way of their expressed and continuing support. 

In more mundane terms, what this means is that ‘funding his own fridge, filling up the cupboard and opening every square inch of floor space in his home’ won’t anymore be near enough to continue helping those coming into the next generation and beyond. What he has achieved in his lifetime now urgently needs to be taken up to a much higher level in a replicable, systematic and con-sistent form so that it can be delivered to them, even when it means that one day, he may no longer be around to personally mentor the process. 

What takes on more urgency for Sam these days is to ensure that The Awhi Way and the legacy of his work and those of others be allowed to continue. He needs to train more people other than those few the Awhi Foundation has now, and provide all forms of resources to enable them to walk with people in need and “awhi” families through their own journeys of metamorphosis. Sam needs to expand the reach of The Awhi Way so that it makes sense to more families and empowers them to transform their circumstances; and, he needs to access the financial resources required to do that job well. 

Therefore, the reason for publishing parts of this website even if it is still a work-in-progress. 


This is the exchange Sam is now asking all potential partners to seriously con-sider – that when they begin and continue to support The Awhi Way through the Awhi Foundation. and give of what they can, they will see change happen. 

It is a change that looks into enhancing educational and financial literacy; get-ting crime, violence, drugs and other forms of abuse out of our homes and off our streets; getting the horrendous numbers locked up in our prisons down; strengthening the capacity of more and more families to love and care for each other; and, providing a safe place and a quality of life that all New Zealanders can enjoy. 

Thus, we invite all of you to browse through the contents this website as it is being built over time to learn more about the work Sam does for people in com-munities. 

Thank you.




Sometime in July 2006, the popular TV show 60 Minutes aired a special feature titled ‘Notorious’. It was a story about the Notorious branch of the Mongrel Mob – notorious for their intimidating ap-pearance, their violence, their shocking behav-iour. 

The opening sequence of the show was well, intim-idating, to say the least. It was something that would send shivers down your back. Four hundred gang members gathered en masse at a mob tangi to bury one of their fallen members, a mob of rough and tough unshaven men hurling taunts and insults at you for daring to intrude on their turf. It is a space you wouldn’t want to catch yourself being in – the kind of nightmarish thought your head suddenly drops square into your gut, one telling you there’s nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. You’re in for it for the worst if you can’t get out! 

The show then moves quickly to a new scene, one evidently showing some-thing completely out of character and in relation to what the public have for so long perceived about this gang. Here, you see much better-groomed members of the gang surrounding its leader who explains that they’re changing their ways because just like any other human they’d like to see a much better future happen for their children. 

Huh? What in the world has happened here? Why this change of heart?

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For close to 10 years Sam Chapman walked alongside members of the Auckland Notorious Chapter of the Mongrel Mob. “The tragedy”, he says, “is that in all the debates about law and order, crime and justice, at all the committee meetings and all the hui’s, the least represented are the very people that we are talking about – the voice that is least heard is their voice.” 

And so Sam, using The Awhi Way for life transformation, brought several of these men and women with him towards a journey of discovery – one that would eventually give them an opportunity to speak for themselves, but one that would also transform their minds, hearts and lives. 

“I honour these men and women. They’ve taken me by the hand and allowed me to walk with them, and I’ve shared as much in their cupboard and in their homes as they have in mine, but more than that we’ve shared the hopes and dreams that they have. And I’ve discovered a wonderful thing, that they’re as human as I am, and they love their kids just as much as I love mine.” 

“The most important part of this”, Sam adds, “is that the members of this com-munity need to be allowed to take responsibility for their own journey. Our part is to humble ourselves, to take a back step, and be available to serve them in whatever way – and to believe that they can be as creative as any of us, in making a good future for themselves. I firmly believe that is possible, and as we have heard, they have proved that they’re capable of doing just that.”

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Change happens when you experience something you haven’t done before. Suddenly there is a choice of different options. When you accept that those options are available and that they bring happiness and peace of mind, that becomes a rea-son to want to change. 

People and the Media have had a long-standing negative perception of the Mob due to the history they have created for themselves. As a result, there are few who will stand beside them in their time of need and walk with them. But over the years Sam and others in the community have given freely of their time and resources. 

In introducing Bones – a leading member of the Notorious Chapter of the Mong-rel Mob, Sam relates how he and wife Thelma, who is a schoolteacher, were running a kōhanga reo (language nursery) in their home. “We wanted to invest into our mokos before they went to school.” This was about the same time that Bones, wife Jens and their daughter Harata came knocking at his door. They wanted a better life for themselves and Harata. They were ready to change, but they didn’t know how to.  

It was at that meeting that Bones also revealed to Sam that, “When most of your youth and adult life has been lived incarcerated, the years roll by. Rejoining average society is a mountain that is so hard to climb. I am here to shed light on the areas of our lives that have, for many years, led us down a spiraling pathway to recidivism, criminality, and anti-social behaviour.” 

“Everything we did had its toll on ourselves and on our families”, Bones added. “Many of our rival gangs hit at our families (because they couldn’t get at us), and they hit hard. The Mob did some bad things, but that was the one thing that we (the Notorious Chapter) never did. We never hit at our rivals’ families. That was our stopping point.”

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Bones went further on to explain to Sam how restoring the tapu and the mana of his community might be achieved if people and the Media could understand the concepts of pono (reality, integrity), tika (the right and worthy thing) and aroha (love and understanding for another person). “Restorative justice”, he said, “is about restoring the tapu and the mana of every individual. So how do we restore something good for our children,” Bones enquired?

After listening to all these and other things Bones had to say to him, Sam began teaching them about the empowerment process and the value of self-determ-ination so that when change comes and when they look back at their history, and where they could be in the future, they would see that they’ve journeyed through several milestones that would all add up to meaningful change and out-comes.

“When you get to the top of your mountain, you’ll see clearly what you’ve miss-ed. We’ll do it by focusing on undoing the past, rather than focusing on trying to fix the past. You’ll learn that by undoing it. It will all be for the sake of your children,” Sam promised.

And so the journey for Bones and Jens began that day one small step at a time. A journey that would remarkably transform their lives.

A year or so later, after Harata had turned five and was attending her local school, Sam had the opportunity to meet her teacher, who, with a big smile on her face told him, “Harata’s is now our number one kid in the classroom!”

Today is the future and one thing is for sure though, no one could have a bigger smile on their faces than Bones and Jens.

We think the Media would approve of that. Wouldn’t you?

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In this part, Sam is asked, “How did it all start? Can you take us back right to the beginning.” 

“It really comes out of our history not only as indiv-iduals but as a member of an extended family and coming from a view that being part of that family is the most important thing.”, Sam replies without he-sitation. He then adds, “But more importantly, it is also being able to share that with others.” 

So backing what Sam has been doing and what he continues to do every day going forward into the future is all part of a sense of what it means to be a whānau but even more, a great sense of God’s presence in all of that. 

“We’re simply a family that opened up our home and people found a place to belong, that they could participate, that they could share. It’s become a lifetime work.” 

So, in a holistic way, when Sam looks at life, he holds a view that the Creator of all things is there walking with us every single second of our journey through life. “It’s not something that we have as a little slot on a Sunday morning that we do as an obligation or whatever”, Sam adds, “but that He’s part of our journey whether we’re spending time with our family or sitting with a whole bunch of strangers we’ve just met.” 

For Sam, what bring us together, more than anything else, is the sense of knowing what’s in God’s heart; of knowing his love, and knowing his peace. It’s a point of view which unfolds to what we look like and mirroring that reflec-tion into our lives and how we could live that out in all the remaining moments of our years. 

“This is what motivates, encourages and enables me to do what I do.”, Sam concludes.

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Over the centuries, societies and cultures around the globe have reeled over the impact and influence of an at times overwhelming world of diversity and turmoil. Throughout the long and wide swath of human history, people have felt victimized, felt inadequate, ill-equipped, and even threatened by continued es-calations of cultural clashes, wars and horrors of ethnic cleansing. 

Sam asks, “Why is there so much polarization of colour and creed, of rich and poor, where life is great and successful for just a few, but so terribly hard for multitudes of others? And why do they wonder why others are so different and why they are in this particular place? Questions need answers and problems need solutions.” 

“We have grieved over broken, wounded, wasted lives,” Sam continues, “but we believe and have been inspired to rise up and fulfil what we were originally designed and created to be. It is this quest to discover a much better way to dream, create and live together in a world that seems, at times, to be falling apart.” 

By sharing the stories of success and a proven practical process Sam has de-veloped and used over the years, we can clearly witness for ourselves that individual lives, families, communities and even possibly our whole nation, can be transformed. 

In many respects, you can say that Sam’s life transformational model and, the process that drives it, has a lot to do with the rediscovery of origin, identity and purpose for life. “It is not always about one’s self. It is not about me.”, he adds. 

“It is about us. All of us.”

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Sir Lionel Alfred Luckhoo is a remarkable man one whose achievements include being twice knighted by Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. If for any-thing else, he is best remembered as the brilliant and savvy attorney whose astounding 245 cons-ecutive murder acquittals earned him a place in The Guinness Book of World Records, an entry that ac-knowledges him as the most successful criminal lawyer of the 20th century with regard to acquittals in murder cases. 

What does Luckhoo therefore have in anything to do with a man called Jesus and the long-running debate that continues today about the existence of God and his plan for humanity? 

As it is, Christianity is based on certain historical claims – that God uniquely entered into the space and time of our world to redeem humanity of its sins and that, only salvation in the person of Jesus of Nazareth revealed in these words (in John 1:12): “Yet to all who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God”, will deliver us from eternal death and damnation. Thus, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. 

Even with that said, we humans are a stiff-necked people. We try to make sense of the supernatural by rationalizing rather than being relational or ex-periential. If it doesn’t appear to fit the mindset, it simply isn’t true. This is how many of us try to make sense of God. 


For countless centuries, sceptics and non-believers have argued that a cursory examination of the evidence demonstrates convincingly that Jesus had only been a human being just like any of us, although with unusual gifts of kindness and wisdom. This made Luckhoo think. Really hard. 

So, as if he were in a court of law and through systematic use of the same reasoning that detractors of Jesus have used to deny his deity, Luckhoo raised two key questions regarding all their arguments: First, had the collection of ‘evidence’ really been thorough and does its explanation best fit the totality of the facts? Second, if all the existing ‘evidence’ originally looks so convincing, fall neatly into place and fit preconceptions at the time, would looking through those lenses mean that it is the truth? 

Trading biases for objectivity, Luckhoo threw the body of ‘evidence’ into a whole new light. He also framed the most contentious issue of all – the Resurrection of Jesus, to his own rigorous analysis after years of study before finally declaring: “I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.” 

What Luckhoo’s declaration means is fundamentally simple. If Jesus Christ the man, was truly resurrected as the prophets of the Old Testament had clearly foretold and, even as Jesus himself said would happen three days following his crucifixion and burial, then he must unequivocally be what he claimed to be – God, the righteous and everlasting creator of all things. 

What are the implications for us all? If this conclusion about Jesus Christ’s deity is correct, it means that our future and eternity hinge on how we respond to him, for as he declared, “If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” 

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We know that Sam is a firm believer. In this video, he relates that there are many experiences we celebrate in life, but that there are also many others we can claim not being too proud of. “Often, God visits us in the broken and shat-tered circumstances of people’s lives, but by turning away this man, who was only seeking answers and help from me that night, I had a great sense that Jesus was saying to me simply, ‘You have just turned me away’.” That very same night, Sam and Thelma together made a promise that they would never ever do that again. 


“The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” – (John 10:10). 

These words along with the many other teachings of Jesus are the main source of inspiration which underpin the faith, hope, and confidence which Sam and Thelma Chapman hold for the countless number of people who come to them for help and guidance over the years. It is their source of abundant life. 

“Our prayer is always that, people whose lives we touch will find life in abun-dance, spirit, soul and body.”, says Sam. “Our desire is to serve people in the spirit of Jesus; to help them find genuine freedom, experience and power to overcome the influences of darkness that now oppress their lives and their communities.” So what then is this evil Sam describes as darkness? 

The face of all this evil is seen in the many cases of violence at home, alcohol and drug abuse, the wickedness of incest and adultery, poverty, despair and the horrors of suicide. These and more are all the dark and evil influences that are stealing, killing and destroying countless people’s lives every day. 

What then is the solution, we ask? “The restoration of God-given values and practices contextualized into our modern society with particular emphasis on strengthening families and communities; and most importantly, never turning anyone away.”, Sam stresses, “That is part and parcel of what we do and what The Awhi Way is all about.”

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“Let me tell you a story”, Sam says, with the usual mischievous glint in his eyes as he gets to ready to draw from memory the hundreds and hundreds of real-life stories of transformation. This is how he begins it. 

“I went to a prayer breakfast in Washing­ton during Bill Clinton’s presidency – 1995, I think it was. One of the main speakers was an African-American guy called Ben Carson. He talked about being ‘at-risk’, that is, growing up in the ghettos with a mum who couldn’t read or write, and a dad who’d walked out on them. 

He described his journey from being a struggling student – bottom of the class with the nickname ‘Dummy!’, to being top of the class, and the guy everybody turned to for help. And all because he had a mother who believed in him! 

She would make him go to the library each week, get out two books and write a report on them. Even though she couldn’t read, she never let on! 

He had other significant people enter his life too – a youth worker, a teacher, and eventually, he was given a scholarship. Today he’s one of the world’s lead-ing brain specialists, a neurosurgeon. And he inspires people everywhere with his story. 

As I sat listening to him, I thought, ‘How many brain surgeons live in Otara but we don’t know about yet?’ 

And that’s what it comes down to, I reckon. Are we just going to see a whole lot of at-risk kids? Or are we going to see potential brain surgeons? It depends on our perspective, eh? 

So, I don’t see myself as working with the ‘at-risk’. I never have. I’m journeying with a community of families, both young and old, who have a whole range of cir­cumstances and needs, but also a whole range of potential and opportunity. 

That’s who I work with.”, Sam concludes the story.  

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The man we know as Haami Chapman from Otara, Auckland has now over forty years’ experience in transforming communities and lives, particularly for those who have lost hope and been rejected by mainstream society. 

“Along the way in all those years”, he muses, “we were finding people who were struggling for whatever reason; people who just needed some­one to come alongside them for a while. They were simply, part of our journey.” 

Community development is a lifestyle, not a job for Sam. He empowers individuals, families and com-munities to reach their potential by helping them identify their purpose in life and what has worked for them in the past. He gets them to recognise what gifts they hold within themselves to achieve goals and the skills they need to develop in order to transform their own lives. 

So why is Sam so successful even as we now have an education sys­tem that creates experts who validate their existence by making deci­sions on behalf of others who have prob­lems. Yet, those problems never seem to go away even as our government throws millions of dollars every single year in hope of finding some solutions? Obviously, something doesn’t seem to be working here when you really get down to thinking about it more objectively. 

Perhaps the time has come to change all that and, by all means, still bring in qualified people to help design and create alongside of each other. But more decisions need to be made by people in the homes and streets of our com-munities – not by people sitting far away and behind desks in the Beehive. 

“The secret,” Sam winks with an eye,“ is actually pretty sim­ple! We just teach them that they are designed and created to be loved and then show them what love looks like. The transformation takes time, of course, because really – it’s a transformation of the mind. That doesn’t happen over­night. Nevertheless, each of us has this incredible potential to reflect what God intended for every human being: to be a recipient of love, and also to contribute love.” 

True empowerment is when decisions that are being made are being made mostly by those who are affected by those decisions. That’s really an important part of what transformation is all about. Sam has formalized this and other aspects of his work and uses it with people from all different walks of life, often those for whom opportunities are scarce. 

To nurture. To want what is best or right. It’s all part of ‘The Awhi Way’’. Simply, that’s what it’s mostly about and why it works so well. 

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The movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, is an ex-traordinary story about hope, friendship, and suf-fering in life. Tim Robbins, the actor who plays the hero Andy Dufresne, a successful banker impri-soned for two murders he did not commit, accepts without a fight like the biblical sheep led to the slaughter, to a life term sentence inside prison. 

In prison, Durfresne carries himself in much the same dignified and withdrawn manner he was accustomed to as a banker. This strange demeanor, in the midst of the prison’s physically and psychologically abrasive reality, immediately attracts the curious attention of Ellis “Red” Redd-ing, played by Morgan Freeman. 

Two months pass before Dufresne approaches Redding out of necessity. In a somewhat nonchalant manner he declares wanting to resume his rock sculpting hobby and Redding, being something of a kingpin within the prison ranks, is the only inmate with enough clout and connections to smuggle small rocks and tools into the prison. Slowly, the audience is introduced to their evolving friendship. 

While Redding is naturally social, Dufresne has every difficulty relating to others. This realization cause Dufresne some discomfort. He is partly haunted by the memory his wife, whom he loved dearly but “drove away” and as such, is un-nerved by his own tendency to deny himself relationships with others like Redding. The introverted Dufresne communicates without words, but Robbins the actor, deftly conveys the movie character’s inner strength and irrepressible free spirit. 


As his friendship with Redding deepens over the years in prison, Dufresne, a shrewd financial planner, quickly makes friends among the guards and cultivates one with the warden himself, who lets him open a prison library. When the warden begins to sell prison labour to private and public ventures for personal profit, Dufresne is there to hide the shortcuts and kickbacks.

While favours given to the guards in turn gets him protected from some of the rougher inmates, his favours for the warden get nothing but pain, as the war-den double-crosses him. Here, as in other parts of the movie, the content hints at a Christ allegory. The warden tells Dufresne flatly that for all his labour, “You will do the hardest time there is.” 

Throughout the movie, Redding is inspired by the hope which carries Dufresne through tough and trying times; hope which Redding himself had not been able to hold on to. When Dufresne eventually escapes from prison through the sew-age pipes underneath the prison, Redding marvels that, “Dufresne crawled through a river of dirty, smelly, murky and muddy water and came out clean into the stream on the other side.” 

But just before his escape, in a poignant scene between the two, Dufresne tells Redding of his plans and what keeps him going. Softly, he says only one thing, “You keep busy living or you get busy dying.” 

No sentiment has ever been so brought to life in a movie like this. It yields a lasting message of inspiration and renewal for us all as humans.  

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The transformation model that propels The Awhi Way Sam has developed is one that which not only acknowledges you to own up to all the negative things of your past – because it is undeniably there, but encourages you to discover all the positive things in life too. That realisation enables you to also own up to your future as well. 

In explaining the process Sam’s allegorical example is, “If you take a glass of clear water and put something in it that makes it all dirty, muddy and murky, how do you restore it back to what it was originally? If you are not able to empty the glass as such and refill it again, how would you make it clear again?

The example I give”, Sam contends, “is that you place your glass under a tap and open it. As your eyes focus and watch, the clear water that pours into your glass will flush out what is there eventually. That’s the process. It’s what you focus on.” 

The Awhi Way, Sam adds, “is not about creating more rules and expectations that we know anyone will not be able to reach.” What Sam is saying here is that, “let’s create together and fill your glass with some of the hopes and dreams you may have.” 

The pathway to this journey is not one that tries to keep someone away from doing something but rather, encouraging them towards something far more positive. And that, Sam continues, “gives them a big enough reason to keep on doing that new thing. If you focus on things that are positive – your hopes, dreams and the love you give and take, we can create that together and shift your thinking away from all the negative things of the past. Eventually, all that stuff will fall off because it won’t be your focus anymore.” 

And so, as somewhat like the story of Dufresne’s own redemption, that once murky glass of water refilled yields the same inspiration and renewal you need towards owning a new life in the future. 

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