Henare and Pam O'Keefe have only one wish for this year - to see their baritone foster son perform at prestigious Covent Garden.
The community stalwart tears up when he thinks about how far Phillip Rhodes has come.
"Pam and I are extremely proud. What he has achieved is quite extraordinary and Covent Garden is the pinnacle. Despite the odds being stacked against him and all those dark places he has been to, he has come up trumps every time and to achieve what he has achieved ..."
"By all accounts, and he is the first to admit this, he should have been a guest of her Majesty's government; druggie, alcoholic, all the signs were certainly there but he's not only broken the cycle he's smashed it to smithereens."
"But that's in the past now -that's behind him," Henare says.
"He's not only enriched his own life and that of his family but also all those who get to hear his magnificent voice on the stages of the opera houses of the world."
Rhodes will perform the role of torero, and romantic figure Escamillo, in the opera
Carmen, from July 16 to 20.
It will be a launching pad in what has already been a successful career.
"I didn't ever expect it would go to this level. I didn't think I would get to Covent Garden. I had the ambition to, but well, that's like playing for the All Blacks at Tottenham - that's how it feels to me anyway, and that's the level of importance that I have put on it.
"Any Kiwi that comes out of little old New Zealand, and can get in there, I'm very proud of and I feel I am also equally proud of myself for getting there."
While it is not the first time he has sung the role, he hopes to at least meet, if not exceed the expectation associated with it.
"I'm really excited, and nervous. But mostly pretty excited about the opportunity just to be there, standing on the stage where a lot of the greats have stood."
Rhodes, who now lives in North Wales with his wife and two young children, never thought his life would take the direction it has.
"[Music has] given me something to chase really. I didn't have much ambition before, I certainly didn't have the ambition to leave NZ but it has opened the world to me and that's the only way I can describe it and I'm grateful for it."
Rhodes is quick to deflect any praise, however. The only reason he speaks publicly is to give others hope.
"... to spread the message that if I can do it, you can do it. It may be harder, but you can do it, you can achieve what you want."
When Phillip was 10, he and his five younger sisters went from pillar to post after their father, an alcoholic who abused his children, died.
That was until the O'Keefes welcomed them in with open arms.
"I tell people that in my life I had for a father one of the worst you could imagine, but then as my life came along, all of these fatherly figures have heavily influenced my life but done it like a father; giving, loving, and I've benefited from that," Rhodes says.
"I guess that's really just community and I've been lucky to meet some of the best ones in our community."
"It would mean everything" for Rhodes to have his Mum and Dad sitting in the audience.
"Hopefully for them, they can look at each other and say that 'we had a big hand in this' and should it all go well and 1000 people are cheering and entertained, they can feel how their efforts in helping to raise me have gone further than just that."
For Henare, the emotion associated with seeing his son perform at Covent Garden has already come, despite not knowing if he will be able to make it over.
"That is our dream. We would love to make that journey. It would be something else - to be sitting in Covent Garden .... to see him standing where all the greats have stood. Words cannot describe how we feel and we are not there yet.
"We've often said to him, it's not about you. When you stand up there and your dulcet tones ring out, you give others hope. Because you have shown with hard work, and the right support, anything is possible."