WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS REFERENCES TO DRUG USE AND SUICIDE THAT MAY BE DISTRESSING AND/OR TRIGGERING FOR SOME READERS.
Napier man Rangi Pou got his first taste of methamphetamine at the age of 14.
By 15 he'd become an active user, had left home, and had joined a gang.
Hooked on the drug, he started soliciting his friends to become couriers and sellers, and selling them the dream of a lucrative drug business.
"Money, cars, gold watches, houses, you can have anything you want," he told them.
He was wrong.
Aged 28, Pou is now an ordained pastor in Napier and he wants to help and inspire people to change.
Pou sold his first meth bag, which he picked up when it fell out of his drug abusing brother's pocket, at 15.
By the time his 16th birthday rolled around, living in what was an underground brothel on Cottrell Crescent, Pou says he was a full-on addict.
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At 17, he was using a dollar bag of meth (street slang for $100 of meth) as frequently as he could, using any means necessary to acquire the drug including aggravated robbery, theft, and extortion.
That same year he was arrested for aggravated robbery and threats.
"I threatened some people on the street so I could get money for more meth. I got six months' imprisonment."
Pou was sent to Hawke's Bay Regional Prison where he lasted about five days.
"I tried to get kicked out. I stabbed an inmate with a pencil on my second day.
"And I threatened a guard. I went from 0 to 100 very quickly."
His behaviour got him sent to Waikeria Prison, Waikato.
"I finished my time there."
Fast-forward two years, aged 19, and Pou says his life was still "pretty messed up".
"I found myself standing on the side of the road hitchhiking.
"I wanted to change. I prayed to God and asked for his help."
Coincidentally he got picked up by a group of church-going Christian guys.
"They helped me out and I stayed the night.
"Next day I went to the Potter's House Christian Church, Hamilton, with them."
Two years later he got married, got a job, and started working at the Hamilton City Council.
"At 24, I had stroke, and ended up in hospital.
"Life started feeling hopeless again. I connected with some old associates and not long after I came out of hospital, I relapsed.
"I had been clean for five years until then. I lost the plot, a lot."
He went back to using, dealing meth and manufacturing.
"My wife was destroyed. She was still in church, trying to get me help. It put a lot of strain on my marriage."
He started soliciting his Napier friend, who was already a meth user, to be a courier to deal drugs.
"I sold him the dream - money, cards, gold watches. Money could fix all his woes.
"He had five kids and a partner, but on those words he moved. He'd been using meth for 10 years at the time."
Pou's friend started working for him. Three months in, a gang did a home invasion on his friend's house looking for drugs.
His friend was arrested and taken into custody.
"I picked him up and took him home. He was upset and angry, I stayed with him until night time and then as I was leaving I told him to call me if he needed anything."
His friend then committed suicide.
"Two weeks before he killed himself I remember having a conversation with him.
"He wanted to leave for his own sake and his family's sake and I said 'why? You don't want to make money?'"
Following his friend's death, that conversation haunted Pou's every waking moment.
"To try and get rid of the guilt and the shame, I started using even more.
"Eventually I couldn't take it."
He tried committing suicide.
"It was the darkest, most hopeless I've ever felt."
His lifeline came in 2016 when he was visiting an old friend in Napier.
"He used to be a foreman of a concrete company and he'd started a men's health programme for guys who have gotten out of prison.
"When I saw him, he'd relapsed. He was driving a stolen car with a sawn-off shotgun with him and he was saying he will be doing a home invasion."
Pou started to see the damage meth was doing.
I dropped to my knees and started praying again. I was remorseful, crying, in my friend's driveway. I had come face to face with the ugly demon.
He started building bridges.
After returning to Hamilton and in early 2017 he was inspired by the story of touring former Mexican drug cartel member turned evangelist, Orlando Salinas.
It inspired Pou to start male methamphetamine recovery and family help group Choose to Change.
Choose to Change New Zealand was launched in 2017 to combat the effects of fatherless homes, drug addiction, family violence, youth disengagement and other social issues that contribute to breakdowns in families and communities.
Pou started training to become a minister in 2017 and in March he was ordained.
"I was given the opportunity to pioneer a new church and I decided to come back to Napier because I wanted to help my own family and my own friends."
The first thing Pou wants to do is an event that explains the meth crisis. He wants it to be in Napier, and when it's organised, he wants the masses to attend.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• The Word
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.