My Perfect Family: Hunter

Hunter McGregor is a passionate gamer, a design school graduate, and he runs a B&B with his mum, Roi. But more than anything, 27-year-old Hunter wants a job; not so easy when you live with autism.

28 year-old Hunter MacGregor and his ma Roimata live together in the small town of Kaiaua, an hour south of Auckland. 

“Ever since I got my degree of creative technologies we’ve lived down here for three years, it is much farther away from society than we bargained.”

They get along supremely well, they're yin and yang. In their wee home and garden they keep chickens and run an airbnb; Hunter’s job is to make the beds.

“She’s the cleaner I’m the maker.” 

Roimata and Hunter smiling together.
Roimata and Hunter run a small bed and breakfast in a rural town.

At age two Hunter was diagnosed with Autism, leaving Roimata as a single parent to work out what this meant for the two of them.

“That was shattering because I didn’t really know what I was going to be dealing with at that stage.”

Now Roimata has a better understanding of what Autism is.

“Autistic spectrum disorder is a spectrum like a rainbow, like the so-called ‘normal’ spectrum.”

“Autistic spectrum disorder is a spectrum like a rainbow, like the so-called ‘normal’ spectrum.”

The best advice Roimata was given was to avoid letting her son get stuck in routines. 

“Fortunately I was working in a job which allowed me to travel, we went to India three times.”

For Hunter she says the most obvious thing is; “he is quite odd and doesn’t have the most fabulous social skills.” Hunter does not have many friends but this doesn't affect him as he gets along with his ma so well. 

But he is he starting to worry about the future as they both get older.

Hunter making the bed
Hunter is relatively isolated in the sleepy town of Kaiuau

“First of all who is going to cook his meals?” She asks.

Roimata had to tell Hunter he was autistic, but she says his eyesight is what makes him feel most different. 

“He’s partially blind because of his damaged optic nerve,” at age 13 he had acute hydrocephalus.

Hunter has made progress gaining a degree in creative technologies, although he hopes to get a job in what he calls “the battlefield.”

Hunter looking at a computer screen.
Hunter has completed a degree in creative design, but has not had many employment opportunities.

“I do want to get myself out there, but what if I bungle and get booted from the battlefield, that would be a serious disgrace.”

An obstacle for Hunter is his anxiety as his ma says he can worry about the most ridiculous things.

“Oh my god the yen is falling is this going to be the end of nintendo? He’ll worry about that for a day and he worries about storms.”

Roimata believes the isolation of Kaiaua has not been beneficial to Hunter.

“We’ve become a little hermit-y so I’m a bad influence on him. I think he needs to be dragged out of his shell a little more and that’s not going to happen down here.”

She hopes one day he will get a job doing something he loves.

Roimata and Hunter looking down at a hole on their property.
Roimata hopes Hunter will be independent and self sufficient some day, but will be there for him regardless..

“Even though that breaks my heart, I have to be able to let him go.”

Like all mothers Roimata hopes Hunter will find a partner.

“I would like him to fall in love and be living in an environment where he can be happy and cook with somebody else and ultimately feel secure.” But until then, the two peas in a pod will continue through life together.

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