Thomas Karawana: Busker

This is my spot. I come here most days. I have to get here early though, because there’s a woman who sets up her piano just down from me. I think that’s wrong. If I come down and she’s already there, I’ll go somewhere else.

When I first started busking I didn’t know the lyrics to the songs, so I just used to make them up. People don’t even notice half the time, haha! But then one day a lady said to me ‘why don’t you use the computers in the library to download the lyrics?’ So that’s what I do now. I play all the songs people know. All the oldies.

I leant to play the guitar when I was about 13. Mum taught me a couple of chords. D and G, and some bar chords. Her and Dad were always having fights when I was growing up . It was like Once Were Warriors when I was a kid. Parties every weekend.

I was born with Haemophilia so I’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital. Mum used to take me in to see the doctor on the train, I’d be screaming in pain.

She died when I was 15. That was hard. Sometimes I wish I’d had an accident because you get better benefits if you’re on ACC. But I don’t get ACC because I was born this way.

When I lost my legs I had to re-learn how to do everything. It was hard, but I kept going for my boy. He’s 5 and he’s just started school. He can be a bit naughty sometimes, but he’s my boy and I love him. I remember when he was born. The midwife caught him and then she put him in my arms and there was blood on my shoes, and I was just so happy.

We go everywhere together. He jumps on the back and I take him to school and all around the place. My chair does smile-miles.