For many people, Father's Day is a time to treasure the man who raised them - but for some, it can bring hurt and discomfort. Emma Russell shares a story of a little boy without a dad who has been given hope thanks to a charity called Big Buddy.
Less than two years ago, Aramis Huirama-Garvey hated the world.
His dad was no longer in his life and his mum had died of cancer when he was just 3.
"Although his face would smile, his eyes told another story of deep grief. He withdrew and was very frightened of almost everything," his aunty Michelle Huirama told the Herald.
Aramis, now 9, and his two sisters went to live with Huirama and her three daughters.
Then their nana died suddenly in her sleep and once again Aramis lost another key person in his life.
"He seemed to withdraw further into himself and I noticed that he started to become very angry with the world," Huirama said.
Desperate to turn her little nephew's life around, Huirama reached out to the Big Buddy charity which was set up in 2004 to help encourage "confidence and resilience" in young boys living without a father.
"Big buddys" and three required references were vetted through a series of intense interviews - including with psychiatrists and police - to ensure they were safe to be paired with a young boy.
About a week before the Covid-19 pandemic hit New Zealand last year, Aramis met 68-year-old Michael Traill, who became his Big Buddy.
"We just instantly clicked...I remember meeting him for the first time with the family, he looked me up and down and then he came and sat beside me and offered me a treat."
"The first time Aramis hopped in my car, he said 'this is a cool car, can I have it when you die?' and I said to him 'I'm not planning to do that anytime soon' and he said 'I'll wait'."
Traill said he knew the cruel feeling of growing up without a father too well. His own dad left him when he was just 5.
"It's like this void...my mum had to work and I got used to my dad making contact and letting me down."
Traill heard about the Big Buddy charity watching the news one night and straight away knew that's how he wanted to give back, he said.
Now, Traill and Aramis were "thick as thieves". They go fishing together, ride bikes, bake and visit Bunnings for a sausage.
"He's grown emotionally, he's grown height-wise, if you didn't know then you wouldn't know," Traill said.
For as long as Aramis needed him, Traill said he would be there for him.
"He trusts me, he's got on a wavelength with my sense of humour, whether that's a good thing or not."
Huirama said she too noticed a huge difference with Aramis even after his first morning with Traill.
"It was just the small things, he woke up singing the next day and he didn't seem as withdrawn as he had previously.
"He was smiling and laughing a lot more and his anger slowly started to wilt away," she said.
The pair encouraged other Kiwis interested in becoming a Big Buddy to reach out to the charity.
"There were a lot more little buddies than there were big buddies and you can make a real difference," Traill said.
• To make a Father's Day donation to the Big Buddy charity, click here.
• For more information about the Big Buddy charity and to make an application to become a Big Buddy, visit: www.bigbuddy.org.nz.