It's dark and the air outside is crisp.
Everyone else seems to be asleep.
Inside a modest one-storey office, located on the main street of Winton, a rural town just north of Invercargill, the lights are on.
Voices and laughter are coming from inside.
Through the open door, nearly a dozen smiling faces look up.
A tall man, who 10 minutes ago was revving his new set of wheels to show off, greets me with a hug.
"G'day Emma, how ya going?", he says with a burst of energy.
Apart from the loss of hair and pale face, you wouldn't realise Blair Vining is terminally ill. You certainly wouldn't be aware of his battle with the health system. The 39-year-old's positivity and natural charisma are infectious.
In the corner of the room two teenage girls are winding each other up in a light-hearted way. There is little doubt they are sisters.
"Hello, I'm Lilly and this is Della-May," one says - with the same burst of buoyancy as her dad. They are with three other family friends helping them count stacks of papers. They are signed responses for the family's petition to be handed to Opposition health spokesman Michael Woodhouse the following night.
It seems almost unbelievable that the people in this room have gathered more than 130,000 signatures on their petition to change the public health system to save hundreds of Kiwis who die from cancer each year.
A yell comes from the neighbouring room, "Is that Emma?". A bubbly woman rushes out to say hello.
For the past five months I have communicated with Blair's wife, Melissa, almost every day - this is the first time I'm meeting her in person.
When I first met Blair, five months ago at a cancer conference in Wellington, she was running around getting his medication and making sure their daughters were okay nearly 1000km away.
"Right, so I was thinking you could talk to the girls first," she says, focused and determined, calm and in control.
A father lost
The day Della-May found out her dad was dying, she was preparing for her head girl speech. It was the start of the year and she wanted to make a good impression on her first day.
Instead she discovered her dad had stage four bowel cancer and would be dying in a matter of months. Then she was told he had to wait eight weeks for an "urgent" appointment that could extend his life.
"That night Lilly slept in my bed with me and we just cried all night," she says as she glances to the ground.
She pauses briefly, then explains how important it is to keep a brave face.
"I'm meant to be a role-model for the Year 9s and be happy, imagine if your head girl was walking around upset all the time," she says without a quiver in her voice.
It's clear the 17-year-old has the same courage as her dad.
Lilly, the younger sister, storms into the room laughing. "Hello!" she says with her mother's confidence.
Barefoot and wearing a rugby jersey and trackpants, she tosses a rugby ball in the air, catches it and then takes a seat, introducing herself as "the favourite daughter".
"Dad doesn't have a son so I do all the son things with him - farming, playing rugby and keeping the First XV boys in line."
Stories of her escapades with dad roll off her tongue: Cooking pies on the motor of the tractor, doing skids up the driveway and teasing her mum and Della-May about being hopeless with directions.
"Well it's a good thing I'll have you with me next year," Melissa cuts in.
She explains that Della-May plans to study criminal law and psychology at the University of Otago next year. It will just be her and Lilly at home.
The mood swings as Melissa reminds her 12-year-old daughter how different their lives will be without her dad and Della-May around and emphasises how they'll need to "stick together".
It's hard for Lilly and Della-May to talk about life after their dad is gone.
"I love my dad and I'm so proud of him for trying to help other New Zealanders," Lilly says, shedding a tear.
Melissa jumps in again, saying her husband has been the "stay-at-home" parent while she has travelled for work.
"I'm so grateful for that role-reversal because it meant the girls have been able to have all those precious times with their dad while he's alive," she says, unable to stop the tears flowing.
Lilly comforts her mum. Their coping mechanism is to stay positive and continue to fight.
The power couple
It's time to speak to Blair and Melissa alone. To find out how they influenced so many New Zealanders to support their movement for change.
The day after Melissa first met Blair, she told him she "just wanted to be friends".
For the "classy business lady", a farm boy who claimed he was trying to make it as a professional rugby player was not part of the plan.
For nine months, Blair sent the 22-year-old "love of my life" a dozen red roses on the 21st of each month.
"He was the most persistent and romantic person I'd ever known and eventually I caved," says Melissa.
As Blair holds her hand tightly and stares into her eyes comforting her, Melissa begins to cry. Their love for each other is palpable.
The fighting spirit Blair needed to win over Melissa 17 years ago was needed for the petition calling for the Government to establish an independent agency to tackle cancer, free from political interference.
Ticking of the bucket list
Sixteen hours later, Blair and Melissa shed tears of joy as they take in precious moments shared with friends, family and strangers who have battled similar challenges.
More than 650 people have turned up to Invercargill's Transport Museum to support the Vining family and join their fight for better care for Kiwis with cancer.
The atmosphere is vibrant - the Vinings' positivity and determination have spread fast and deep. There's a mum who has travelled from Australia with her young daughter. The mum has cancer and went to school with Melissa. Next to her is an older couple, who spoke on stage about their personal experience of cancer.
After loud applause, it's Blair and Melissa's turn to take the stage.
Ever-cheeky, Blair tells the audience that after his diagnosis he came up with a plan for "the cancer card".
"He told me he wanted to renew our wedding vows," laughs Melissa. "I said, 'That's silly, we have already committed to each other' . . . then he pulled the cancer card."
"If you ever get this awful disease - use the cancer card, it will get you whatever you want," Blair tells the chuckling crowd.
He's not wrong. Within 30 days, Melissa made the renewal happen - fireworks on Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu and all.
Blair has ticked off nearly every item on his bucket list, using the cancer card of course - his dream set of wheels, getting the boys rugby team he coaches to Australia and once-in-a-lifetime memories with family and friends.
There's just one thing he hasn't achieved, though he's close.
He wants to save 800 lives a year from cancer - an ambitious goal but one he's starting to feel is achievable.
Melissa ends her speech with, arguably, the most powerful words heard all night.
"Blair won't live to see change but he lives for hope change is coming."