Zack Makoare still carries the pain of losing a child to suicide, but is working hard to make sure other parents don't suffer the way he has.
The former freezing worker's son Kelly went missing from his boarding school in 2000, and a subsequent search led Makoare to discover his 15-year-old's body at their family home.
"It took me quite a while to get over it... the effect it's had on family - I didn't realise the effect it had on my younger ones. They didn't see what I saw, but their brother was no longer here with us, and [he was] somebody who really meant a lot to us.
"When you're traumatised like that, it just really gets at you. Even today I'm still a bit lost about it."
The Hawke's Bay father-of-three says the big question that never gets answered is 'why', and he struggles to accept the one person who knows the truth is no longer around.
Feelings of guilt have been overwhelming at times, reflecting on the factors that may have influenced Kelly's decision.
"I think, 'What is it that happened that made my son want to take his life? Where did you go wrong? Were you part of that problem?' That's all the different feelings you have and emotions that you have and you carry within you - it's quite a challenging place to be.
"He was amazing. He was funny, he was everything that we thought would be a great leader... he got on well with everybody."
Makoare says there weren't any indicators that something was wrong at the time, but he feels now he would have been able to pick up on something with the skills he's since gained through his work in the mental health space. It's those efforts that give him and his wife Georgina the ability to be closer to the child they lost.
Seven years after Kelly died, Makoare launched the Te Taitimu Trust to support the wellbeing of vulnerable tamariki and rangatahi in Hawke's Bay. The trust runs camps to encourage struggling youths by connecting them with New Zealand's coastlines and waterways.
"We realised, through having our own grief, we had the power to help and serve other people - at the time we didn't realise what we had inside us. It's amazing how things happen when you serve other people.
"One of the things is figuring out what is needed to help our children move forward around the suicide space. Especially for Māori, what's the medicine that will help us?
"Too much of our focus is on a medical model. I think we should use a model that's more inclusive of how Māori think at least, as an indigenous person, and how we can work with our environment to keep ourselves well."
Each year the trust hosts six to eight small camps and one big camp to bring everyone together. He says one of the points of difference is being able to get 20 adults to come together to volunteer - and the money that should be paying them can go back into the programme.
Now, his mission is building a wellbeing centre, as part of his whānau's new papakāinga development at Te Hauke, 20km south of Hastings.
Once complete, Te Pā Oranga will be able to house 8-10 rangatahi from across Hawke’s Bay at any given time.
The welfare centre within the small community will implement a preventative residential programme that places wellness, whānau and te ao Māori at its core, providing a safe and supportive space for youth to help build wellbeing and resilience.
"Each day will be about forming a positive routine to help rangatahi build their self-confidence, responsibility and empathy," Makoare says.
The youths will assist whānau in the management of community gardens and an outdoor auditorium will provide a space for presentations and performances.
At full capacity, the centre will be run by three kaimahi who will live in the whare and be responsible for the delivery of the programme.
By creating an opportunity for people to feel good about themselves, Makoare believes there's real potential to learn resilience, confidence, connection with the land and the skillset to keep moving forward.
In 2017, Makoare was recognised with the Supreme National LifeKeepers Award for Suicide Prevention and has helped more than 3000 whānau since launching Te Taitimu Trust.
Between July 2007 and June 2020, 1590 Māori died by suicide in New Zealand - 878 of which were under the age of 30, according to the coroner's suicide report.
Between July 2019 and June 2020, Māori made up 157 of a total of 654 suicides - 112 males and 45 females.
Academic and psychiatrist Sir Mason Durie believes the solution to high Māori suicide rates, lies in helping communities to support and nurture their rangatahi to manage these stresses before they even reach the health system.
"The work Zack's doing is groundbreaking. [It's] about wellness for young people and so that's hugely important in an environment where very often the people he's working with might never otherwise experience the notion of wellness," Sir Mason says.
"Some people define Māori by their disparities and disadvantage, but that's not a very good definition. The other way of looking at it is to define people by their potential. And that's what Zack's work is doing."
Sir Mason was selected as the first appointment for the new Māori Health Authority in May and believes the solution to issues like the high Māori suicide rates lie in helping communities to support and nurture their rangatahi, and to manage stresses before they even reach the health system.
"The key to it is leadership and in that sense, the young people he's working with, he's helping them to become leaders as well."
Makoare works within the four cornerstones of the 'te whare tapa whā' Māori health model - established by Sir Mason - which focuses on taha tinana (physical health), taha wairua (spiritual health), taha whānau (family health) and taha hinengaro (mental health).
He says he hasn't got a PHD but what matters is his QBE to be able to make a difference.
"Qualified By Experience, I work by tika, pono and aroha - being truthful about what I'm saying, pono in action is me helping others, with aroha."