Zack Makoare's response to the death of his son has been recognised with the Supreme National LifeKeepers Award for Suicide Prevention.
The awards, sponsored by suicide prevention organisation Clinical Advisory Services Aotearoa, celebrated individuals making a significant contribution to preventing suicide in their local community. Not least was Mr Makoare's work as director of Te Taitimu Trust, helping to prevent suicide in the Hawke's Bay region.
Regional suicide prevention co-ordinators within district health boards across New Zealand each nominated an individual or organisation who had made an outstanding contribution to preventing suicide in their local community for the award.
Te Taitimu Trust was Mr Makoare's response to the death of his15-year-old son Kelly 17 years ago.
"I have been trying to spread the word of trust, commitment and aroha," he said.
"It's about leadership within families - getting people supporting whanau members and communities.
"It is working with youth about how they can support people."
He said there was always room for more awareness and support of people.
"For Maori the stats are very high in the suicide space - that is quite difficult to work through."
He said the trust was lucky to have the help of academic, psychiatrist and Te Aute College old boy Sir Mason Durie.
"He has been talking with our youth around shared leadership. A real leader is somebody who actually serves his community."
The awards were part of the launch of LifeKeepers, a suicide prevention training programme funded by the Health Ministry and designed for New Zealand communities.
"Leading a team with lived experience of the long-lasting effects suicide has on families and communities, gives me a deep sense of anticipation for LifeKeepers," Le Va chief executive Monique Faleafa said.
"The calls for an accessible new approach to suicide prevention through a training programme like LifeKeepers have been loud and clear from all corners of New Zealand.
"We know that suicide is preventable and we also know that it will take strong, connected communities of care to tackle our concerning suicide rate and save lives, and this is where LifeKeepers fits in.
"But we also know that one organisation or programme can't prevent suicide on its own - we can make an important contribution, and we're going to need the support of other organisations, communities and individuals.
"Suicide is everybody's business."