Beautiful voice behind addict who turned his life around
UPDATE: Singer Matthew Saunoa, who spent years hiding behind the mask of a drug addiction to deal with his childhood trauma, received a standing ovation at the Bayside Transformations gala.
"It was hard to do but it was very liberating...it cemented where I am in my recovery with how far I've come," Matt said after his weekend performance at the annual gala on Saturday night.
Matthew, who won New Zealand Idol in 2006, shared his story with close to 180 community members during a performance with his band at the Gatsby themed event in Hervey Bay.
"My whole perception of myself has changed," Matthew said.
The 32-year-old was impacted by business groups, councillors and other members of the community and their support for the event.
"Their support helps validate what we're doing at Bayside Transformations," Matthew said.
Bayside Transformations administration manager Lisa Love said the night was about helping people who had lost their way because of drug addiction.
"It's their community; we're helping transform their community and lives," Ms Love said.
"Everyone who has gone through the program has a wonderful story to tell. There are people who are already reconciling with their children and families."
Ms Love said about $25,000 was raised from the entire event.
EARLIER: SINGER Matthew Saunoa spent years hiding behind the mask of drug addiction to deal with childhood trauma.
Now just six weeks away from graduating a drug rehabilitation program at Bayside Transformations, Matthew is ready to drop the mask and sing his heart out on stage this weekend.
Matthew will be performing at Bayside Transformations Gatsby themed annual gala at the Hervey Bay RSL this Saturday night with all funds going towards changing the lives of those affected by addiction.
The New Zealander, who has been a professional singer since he was eight, was addicted to drugs from the age of 14.
Matthew's drug problem stemmed from child abuse.
"Singing and performing arts became my mask for what was really going on," the 32-year-old said.
"I always felt like I have suffered from no self worth and considered myself as a thing, not someone who could be loved."
Matthew is currently in stage four of the transformation program designed to help him overcome methamphetamine addiction.
"I started smoking meth and marijuana when I was 14-years-old," he said.
"I was a broken person and I always have been up until I came to Transformations."
Matthew's story isn't an isolated incident with a recent survey showing 1.4% of Australians over the age of 14 had used methamphetamine in the last 12 months.
Matthew said his drug addiction lead to him losing everything, including his ex-wife and children.
"So much of my life has transformed, I feel worthy of the air that is in my lungs," he said.
Matthew will go on tour with his band Hanlon Brothers at the end of the year and he hopes his music will be a part of changing people's lives.
As soon as he graduates, Matthew plans to head home to New Zealand to visit his children.
Bayside Transformations spokesperson Lisa Love said the gala was all about transforming lives for good.
"This event is all about helping us help others in the community," Ms Love said.
There were be raffles and prizes (including best dressed), an auction with 18 prizes including accommodation on Fraser Island, delicious dining and will feature music by Brown Sugar.
The cut off to secure your ticket ($100pp or $900 per table of 10) is Thursday June 20, midday.
Call Lisa on 4194 6621, 0422 282 297 or Renee on 0488 558 826.