When Garth McVicar, a family man, watched a father who had sought revenge on the man who kidnapped and murdered his daughter get convicted, he wanted to do something about it.
The Hawke's Bay father of four thought of his own family and wanted to make a difference to change the way New Zealand's criminal justice system works. But five years of relentless tragedy and political lobbying have no doubt come at great personal cost for Mr McVicar and those who support him.
Mr McVicar was so incensed by the 1989 murder of Karla Cardno that he drove to Auckland to support Mark Middleton, the stepfather of the murdered teen. In 2001 Middleton was put on trial and convicted after he threatened to kill Paul Dally, the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepdaughter, if he was ever released from jail.
When he voiced his opinion on national television, Garth McVicar struck a national nerve.
"For me, it was all about families. If anything ever happened to my kids I'd be doing the same," he said.
"I'm a farmer and on a farm we shoot mad dogs. So why would we ever want to let a guy like that out of jail?"
The amount of public interest generated was incredible, and his phones went mad with people showing their support.
Public rallies were held outside 67 courthouses around New Zealand the day Middleton was sentenced, and 16,100 people signed a petition calling for changes to New Zealand's justice system.
So after running an earth-moving and house-removal business before becoming a farmer in Mohaka, Mr McVicar turned all his attentions to a new political quest, and the Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) was born.
This week, its fifth anniversary, it is evident the organisation which fights for justice reform and victims' rights has gone from strength to strength.
The trust aims to help the victim's families, but in a different way to organisations such as Victim Support, by actively campaigning for victims' rights.
Since the charitable trust was set up, Sensible Sentencing has been a strident voice for change, calling for tougher sentences, compulsory DNA samples, as well as challenging the legal aid system and exposing breaches of parole.
Recently, the nerve centre moved to roomier premises in Napier's Hastings Street.
Letters flood in every day, some telling horrific stories of a family's suffering, and others offering words of support.
"You should never say you can't do anything," Mr McVicar said.
"What you see is what you get with me. I respect other people's views. But if I don't agree with someone's opinion I will tell them straight up.
"At present, the way the criminal justice system works in this country means the offender gets everything they want thrown at them.
"They get legal aid, psychiatric care, food, dentistry, you name it they get it. It's becoming a gravy train, and we decided to focus on putting all our efforts and resources into helping the victims' families."
Mr McVicar, 55, said his wife Anne, 54, had also been involved from the start.
He explained that, being parents, the most important thing to them was their four daughters and four grandchildren.
"Violent crime has escalated hugely since the 1970s, and the consequences to people living in New Zealand have been horrific," he said.
"Nowadays we have to ask why serial offenders are regularly getting out on parole and preying on young teenagers, even if they have a history of violent crime.
"Alarm bells started going off in my head as I had my daughters and grandchildren to think about.
"At the beginning, we weren't sure if it was going to be too emotionally draining to deal with victims of violent crimes, as they all have horrific stories to tell."
At times, he admits, both he and his wife have had cause to reconsider.
"I remember one night, after a particularly overwhelming day dealing with some horrendous situations, I asked Anne if we were doing the right thing carrying on with it.
"It's not something you can just switch off when you get home and a lot of the terrible stories we hear from victims can knock us sideways. Their experiences are so raw and so vivid. You can't shut it out of your mind just like that.
"But we made a conscious decision to run it like a business, as we had a job to do."
Over time, the couple have learned not to let their feelings run away with them. Like the police and other emergency personnel who exist on a daily diet of tragic outcomes, they have learned the art of professional detachment.
"We do still feel the emotions they are going through, but something kicks in and we fight for them. If we let it destroy us there would be no point," he said.
"I could never put into words the effect it has had on us."
The trust is funded by membership and receives donations every week from national organisations such as the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Grey Power Association and Probus groups. The Hastings Returned Services Association has also pledged $100,000 to the trust, with instalments of $10,000 every year for the next 10 years.
Crombie and Lockwood insurance brokers sponsor the offices, and other businesses also help out, including major contributor Hill Country Corporation.
Support also comes from Sir Russell and Lady Glenys Pettigrew, who are patrons of the trust.
Hundreds of thousands of membership newsletters are sent out to individuals, clubs and organisations to keep people up to date with what's happening on a regular basis.
So what motivates Mr McVicar to keep turning up for work each day when he's not even getting a pay packet?
"It's my passion which drives me," he said.
"It's a massive fulltime job. There's nothing more traumatic and harrowing for a family to have to go through than when they've been the victim of a violent crime.
"And they are depending on us as they have nobody else to help them, so that's what keeps us committed.
"Often families will become speechless before a parole board when faced with the offender who killed their loved one.
"We know what the parole board has to consider, so we can go and bat for the victim in parliament to alleviate the trauma for their family.
"And I don't care if the offender had a bad upbringing, or had an alcohol addiction or any other excuse. We shouldn't make excuses for the low-lifes who commit violent crime."
Mr McVicar praised his colleagues, whose determination and commitment gives them the "X-factor", he said.
In addition to working alongside his wife Anne, Mr McVicar also works alongside Wendy Pedler, who is the trust's national secretary, and business development manager Christine Chambers.
Wendy became involved after hearing about a convicted killer who was awarded $90,000 compensation in 2001 after he was beaten by guards in prison.
She also had friends who had been victims of a home invasion in Napier which led to their son's murder, 14 years ago. She watched their journey through the justice system and how it affected them.
Wendy works for the trust full-time, and says she is lucky she has her husband to support her, both financially and emotionally.
"I've always had a passion for justice and victims' rights. I decided to join the courthouse rallies back in 2001, and I have never looked back," she said.
"It's the most rewarding job I've ever had in my life.
"Although some days when I've been dealing with a victim's family I do take their pain on board as they need somebody there to help pick themselves up. But we have to stay focused."
In 2001, the SST challenged legislation which allows violent offenders to apply for parole after they have served a third of their sentence. Back then, the organisation had little impact as they were relatively unheard of.
But now their fight for justice has gathered momentum, and they are getting support from a wide range of groups and organisations around New Zealand.
Mr McVicar has given talks at various organisations up and down the country, including schools and churches and even a meeting with the Mongrel Mob and Black Power movement.
The trust has formed close links with the community, and is a valued organisation across Hawke's Bay.
Superintendent Grant Nicholls, Eastern police district commander, said the Sensible Sentencing Trust had raised interesting and challenging issues over the years.
"The people involved in the trust are very passionate about their cause, which has inspired some challenging debate in the community," Mr Nicholls said.
When the trust was started, the standard sentence for murder was life, according to Garth McVicar.
"But that only meant 10 years in prison, and we want life to mean life," Mr McVicar said.
"We took a number of victims of violent crimes to Wellington in 2002 to give evidence before a select committee meeting. We were only a small group at that stage, but we have now seen tougher sentences being handed out, such as a 28-year sentence for notorious killer and sex offender Peter Howse, who killed his two stepdaughters in Masterton in 2001.
"We decided there was no point in becoming a warm fuzzy group working in the community, it was about getting our voice heard in Parliament.
"And now politicians are picking up on it and we've been asked to meet people from the Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice this week.
"We realised we couldn't change things overnight, but now it feels like we're finally getting through and making a real difference."