It's been little over a month since 10 men entered the controversial Mongrel Mob-led drug rehabilitation treatment programme being run out of Tapairu Marae in Waipawa, after receiving $2.75 million of Government funding.
Now over halfway through the 10-week Kahukura programme, Hawke's Bay Today takes a look at the progress being made.
For Damian (not his real name), the changes in his brother brought about by the programme were almost immediately apparent.
He described him as "looking cleaner, looking there", not long after starting the programme.
Recent blood tests support this progress, showing that for the first time in a long time, "he's 100 per cent clean".
"It's awesome," Damian said.
"He's into kaupapa Māori and really getting stuck into it."
Elements of tikanga Māori have been a big part of what the men have been doing, as evident by a recent stirring haka, dressed in red and fully patched, outside Hastings's Kia Tipu Te Ora Trust on Heretaunga St East.
The visit to the addiction support service provider, which takes in anyone who asks for help, was about creating connections for when the men leave the Kahukura programme, the trust's Chris Jenkins said.
"They are connecting with other services so that when treatment finishes they can get support.
"They are really genuine about wanting to change.
"For us we will support anyone who wants to make a change, regardless of anything else."
He said it was an honour to host the men on the programme, thanking them for sharing part of their recovery journey.
"Everyone shared a little about themselves. It was a really powerful group."
It was a positive and empowering experience for a few of the trust's regulars too, he said.
Jenkins said the ripple effects from people making the choice to "change their life" were huge.
He said methamphetamine addiction would likely always be a problem in Hawke's Bay and it was impossible to "force anyone to change".
That's what made the Kahukura all the more impressive, he said.
"When the change is coming from those guys themselves, it's really powerful.
"I think that's what makes it sustainable."
Asked about the added pressure the Kahukura participants faced as a result of the intensive political scrutiny of the programme, Jenkins said he was aware of it but it wasn't spoken of by the men.
"They are just doing their recoveries."
The programme, run by Hard2Reach (H2R), has generated widespread criticism including from senior Hawke's Bay police unhappy with $2.75m from the Proceeds of Crime Fund helping gangs, and concerns that the programme is healing gang members who will carry on with crime.
It has been defended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said a pilot that ran at a Poukawa marae in Central Hawke's Bay independently of the ministry last year had shown "signs of success".
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, which made the funding application on behalf of H2R, said the course was "on track for completion".
"The organisers and participants are simply focused on doing the work required to recover from methamphetamine addiction."
They acknowledged returning to the community can be difficult for anyone who has just completed a rehabilitation course, so the programme is designed with a two-week reintegration period.
Additionally, each person would graduate with an individual plan to help them maintain the skills and behaviours learned through the programme, they said.
Some may also be linked with other community supports, such as further alcohol and other drug care.
A review of the initial pilot, and after each of the courses, would also be undertaken alongside the ministry.
A formal evaluation is also planned after 18 months.
"As with any pilot, there will be a review once the course is completed with a focus on learnings and improvements for the next course."
H2R has been contracted to deliver nine courses over three years.