How Corban overcame abuse in his relationships

After a night spent in the Police cells, Corban knew it was time to break the cycle and take control of his actions. Join Corban as he shares his story of redemption, where he found solace and guidance in a local men's group. Through their support, he discovered the tools to manage his emotions and become the partner he always wanted to be.

Soft piano music plays continuously in the background for the duration of the film. On a black screen is the text ‘Warning. This video contains discussions of violence and sexual assault. Viewer discretion is advised.’

Corban, a young man in a white t shirt, is wrapping his hands in yellow boxing tape.

Corban: “Kia ora I am Corban Shane Mita and I'm from the Wairarapa..”

Cut to a close up of Corban, sitting in a warmly lit living room, facing the camera and talking to someone off screen. To his right is a round, white table. On the table is a leafy green plant in a big yellow pot, and a large candle is burning in a glass container. Behind him, the curtains are drawn. He is wearing a black cap with a Boston Red Sox logo, and a casual, checkered shirt with a plain t-shirt underneath it.

Corban: “and I'm aged 24.” He smiles.

Cut to a black and white photograph of Corban boxing. He is shirtless and wearing boxing gloves. There is a mouthguard in his mouth.

Cut to a slow-motion scene of Corban boxing bare handed in the gym against a sparring partner, who is slightly out of the shot.

Corban: “ I was very energetic as a child and I think I was quite hard for my mother sometimes.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “I did have a father figure throughout my life, but I always had a lot of resentment towards my father figure at the time. I think I can remember on my sixth birthday walking into my father beating up my mum. I didn't really have a strong relationship with my father after that -  my parents got divorced, but a new father figure came into my life and that's my stepdad.”

Cut to Corban sitting on a bench in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) gym, in front of a series of black and white pictures of boxers. He is wearing black headphones, and an ‘Undisputed MMA’ t shirt. He has yellow boxing tape on his hands.

Corban: “He brought me up like one of his own and he's like my dad.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “He taught me a lot in life 'cos he didn't really come from a lot himself so he … put all of his love and care … into me.”

Cut to Corban sparring with his coach in the gym. His coach is wearing pads on his arms and a large black and blue pad around his abdomen.  The scene is in slow-motion.

Corban: “My parents were always providers. We weren't real rich, but we weren't, like, poor. My mum was a really hard worker.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: ”Throughout school I always, I was quite  quiet and introverted…”

Cut to Corban standing in the MMA gym, with his hands raised behind his head. He moves a little, in slow motion.

Corban:  “…and that was sort of with something that had happened before we moved to the farm.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.  The music playing in the background stops.

Corban: “I got sexually assaulted at a young age and … my self-worth and confidence was, … I didn't think highly of myself at a young age and [long pause] that sort of … carried all of that until … At the end of my intermediate years, is when I sort of told my mum about what had happened and that was … like all this relief, but I had all this this resentment as well.

I remember just thinking, like, ‘oh when I'm older, I'm going to I'm going to get this person.’”

“and I just held on to that for a lot and my mum, my parents, were real supportive, and they got me counselling and all that, but I sort of feel like that's how I was sort of formed from that. That was quite a significant part of my life…”

Soft piano music starts again

Corban: “…developing … as a young fella.”

Cut to the MMA gym. There are three long black punching bags. Each has a golden Celtic cross symbol. Corban is punching and kicking the middle bag.

Corban: “always had a lot of self doubt and I just wasn't that confident and then I found  … Undisputed MMA.”

Cut to an outdoor shot of the gym, a white stucco wall with a large white sign. The sign reads ‘Undisputed MMA NZ’ and has a stylised logo on both ends.

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “It was quite a small gym at the time, and that was sort of suited to my personality.”

Cut to shots of interior gym signage, piles of boxing gloves and pads, and Corban training in the gym with his coach.

Corban: “There was a lot of, I'd say, emotional abuse and stuff throughout my childhood. Alcohol was quite a big thing and drugs and stuff like that.

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “I've got a very big family with dominant men around and it was sort of, like what it is to be a man, to be a leader, to, you know, be the man of the house and all this and I don't know how to express my emotions. I didn't  know how to be vulnerable with my partner. I didn't want to feel like not a man, you know, to be vulnerable. I didn't want to … let her know that I'm not actually alright.”

Cut to Corban sparring with his coach in the gym. scene is in slow-motion.

Corban: “I've always had a thing of not feeling loved enough. I just remember when I used to lash out.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “Afterwards you'd feel guilty … like ‘oh I shouldn't have said that.’ Name calling was a bad thing for me and … putting the blame on other people.”

Cut to Corban standing in the MMA gym, wearing boxing gloves. He is looking strait in front of him, slightly off-camera. Sweat drips from his brow.

Corban: “I started to notice some change when I met Ella - comparing from my previous relationship to now thinking”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “ ‘oh … is it me?’ sort of like I'm still acting the same as I was 'cos I thought it was her … at the time.”

Cut to Ella, sitting on a cream couch in the living room. She is wearing a fluffy tan jacket and a black top. Her dark hair is tied back and she is wearing gold earrings and a gold necklace.

I'm Ella, I'm Corban's partner. We have been together five years, this year, so really awesome to achieve that milestone.

Cut to Corban sparring with his coach in the gym. scene is in slow-motion.

Ella: “I started noticing the things that needed to change probably 2 years into the relationship and that would be things ....” 

Cut back to Ella in the living room.

Ella: “… like suppressing me if I was crying in an argument or, you know, a heated discussion. I'd always cry and I'd always try to encourage you know should we go do a couple's counselling or a couple's therapy and it would be a straight "no, no we don't need that" or "no, that's not happening."  

Cut back to Corban sparring with his coach in the gym.

Corban: “Ella, she's quite an extroverted person, and she was always wanting to organise stuff and she'd be the…”  

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “Organiser of the group, for our friends and stuff, and it was me sort of suppressing her saying ‘no you don't need to organise it’ you know and sort of having that power and control.”

Cut back to Corban MMA gym, punching and kicking the punching bag.

Corban: “Suppressing the emotions were the probably the biggest thing for Ella that I sort of regret, emotional abuse 'cos it sort of sticks with them forever - even now, we sort of talk about it and it sticks with her still.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “It was … the night that I just went  - it was just a rage - just a big rage. I sort of had a fight at the pub and got taken home. I was already you know at a ‘ten’, and Ella and I got home, and just the really hurts to think about it and it was just something that I'm not proud of.”  

Cut back to Corban MMA gym, punching and kicking the punching bag.

Corban: “and I ended up spending the night in the prison cell waking up on New Year's Day.”

Cut to Corban standing still in the boxing ring, with his eyes closed.

Corban: “That's when I noticed  I needed some help and I wasn't happy 'cos I was just always struggling with …”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “I didn't want to be like my father, my real dad, and I was just one step closer to being like him you know? And, yeah.”

Cut to Corban in the gym, sparring in slow motion. there is a blue tone light on him.

Corban: “I decided to do relationship counselling. My mum had a contact number for a family counsellor and I went there and she referred me to this men's group that was going on. She's like, "I really think you'd enjoy it and you'd take something from it"

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “and I was just like ‘no, no  I just want to do the one-on ones. It's not that bad’ I was minimising it, you know, denying it and sort of blaming as well. I, sort of just took action with it 'cos I noticed that the change in my parents, 'cos they had done this thing and … they're good now, … that's when I decided oh, maybe …”

Cut to Corban standing in the corner of the boxing ring at the MMA gym. His gloved hands are on the ropes, and his eyes are closed.

Corban: “I just take action and do it 'cos it was so hard for me to just take that step.

That first night was real intimidating and I just, you know, I was sitting in there and I was  I don't want to be there.

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “ I felt quite challenged as well when I got there. I didn't tell my real father but my mum, my stepdad, and Ella's family they were real supportive of me going.”   

Cut to Corban getting out of the driver’s seat of a white ute. He walks up to the gate of his home, walks through the gate and walks towards the house.

Corban: “I felt good walking in 'cos I was actually taking action and something that you know normally that I wouldn't.

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “It was good having the counsellors there 'cos they were real welcoming and they sort of  make you feel comfortable, and made you feel like you're not coming in here getting interrogated like you know ‘how's your day la la la thank you for coming’ and so that was quite welcoming and warm.”

Cut to Ella looking through the glass door. A large black dog is with her and also looking out the door. Ella is smiling. She opens the door and steps outside. The dog runs outside and jumps up on Corban, licking his face.

Ella: “He's such a completely different person. He's still him, he's still himself and still the old Corban…”

Cut back to Ella in the living room

Ella: “but he's just a better version. And I know that every day he tries to implement these skills ... and takes these along his journey and … really adds to his toolbox.”

Cut to the kitchen. Corban turns on the kettle and the sound of water boiling begins. There are two black cups sitting in front of the kettle. As Corban speaks in voiceover, he waits for the jug to boil. Ella walks into the room and kisses him. They speak inaudibly as Corban puts tea bags in the cups and pours the water into them. The sound of water being poured can be heard.

Corban: “I felt like I was quite  positive throughout the men's group 'cos I just learned all the stuff that I never learned before. It would have helped me so much if I'd learned that in college.”  

The biggest one was probably self-care, and checking in with myself. Coming home from a day, and I normally journal before bed, write in bed and reflecting right from when I get up…”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “…to right when I go to bed, and just how I was feeling, how was work? How was training?

Cut to Corban and Ella standing in the kitchen drinking their cups of tea. They are chatting inaudibly and smiling.

Corban: “Was there anything I noticed that was off tune a bit?”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “I view myself now as someone that is confident, vulnerable, emotionally in tuned with myself, which has been … the biggest thing, and I've sort of realised that there's like a quote 'as above as below' you could be a millionaire or you could be homeless, but we all still deal with the same problems aye? And it's just that process of how you … cope with it and how you how you sort of get ahead.”         

Cut to Corban sitting outside the house, on the steps of the deck. His hands are clasped and his eyes are closed. The dog’s kennel is on the deck behind him.

Corban: “I'm at the stage of my life where I'm comfortable to cry. I'm comfortable with how I feel.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “The place that helps me keep grounded and connected is my MMA gym. I talk about the men's group there - I can comfortably talk about it …”

Cut to Corban and his coach, sparring bare-handed, in slow motion.

Corban: “and it's also helped me train younger children and deal with how people learn stuff differently and it's always keeping me on my toes and it's helped me a lot with my confidence and I've achieved a lot with fighting which I'm very proud of.”

Cut to various shots in the MMA gym,  medals on the wall and Corban, smiling  proudly with three World Champion medals around his neck.

Corban: “Everyone's very supportive there, we all check in with each other and my coach is … he's a top guy. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have fought over in Wales.  I never viewed myself winning medals and being at a higher level than I'm at, and …”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: … “it all comes down to a good mentor. My coach, Emilio, is a very good mentor and he's … a very good leader.”

Cut to Corban and Ella walking with the dog across an empty rugby field.

Corban: “I'm very proud of myself, where I am in life now and I'm just even more thankful that when Ella and I have children, I know I'll be … a good father. I'm thankful that I didn't have children and have these problems around them 'cos  I think when you get to a certain age, there's some stuff that your parents do really well and …”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “… there's some stuff that you want to be better than them, and I want to be more confident.”

Cut to Corban sitting at the table in the living room, writing in his journal. He has an orange pen in his left hand. The pot plant is on the table.

Corban: “The self-talk never goes away.”

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “I think it's something that sticks with you throughout life until you're dead, but it's how you manage it and I'm still you know"  

Cut to Corban in the MMA gym, with his coach, stretching.

Corban: “I'm not perfect but I'm … able to manage it. I think as humans we want community, you know.

Cut back to Corban in the living room.

Corban: “I had an old mindset of being the lone wolf a lot when I was training, but I think community is what we need.”

Male interviewer, off camera: “yeah, love you bro”

Corban: “Love you too, bro.”

Interviewer: “yeah, yeah”.

Corban smiles and goes to rise from his seat as the scene fades. Ella laughs off camera. Soft guitar music plays. Against a black background, white words appear. "In your hands. Change starts here.  For you and your whanau. If you think it might be time to change your behaviour, you’re in the right place.”

More to Watch
Corban - Thinking about change

Corban's Story

Play Full Playlist
Corban - Thinking about change
Ete - Taking Steps for Change
Wiremu - Staying on Track

Change Journey Playlists

More Stories on Change

Looking for help for someone else?

Go to supporters page
Image of mobile phone with Service Finder tool

Need help not sure where to find it?

Use the Service Finder tool below to find the right support for you.