Northland woman Shanelle Kaka has spent 22 years healing since the car she and her baby brother were travelling in crashed at an intersection killing her young mother instantly.
And now the 27-year-old is mending new wounds after that same brother, Valentine Kaka, died after being hit by a car on Matthews Ave in Kaitaia on Tuesday evening.
Shanelle said despite living in separate towns and leading different lifestyles from 24-year-old "Val", the love she shared with her brother always had a strong heartbeat.
"I've always loved my brother and I'll always love him. If he needed me I would bend over backwards for Val," she said.
"I've never ever in my life grieved, cried, shaken over anybody except for when they brought out the vehicle with my brother ..."
Shanelle described how the death of her mother Maree Spencer - also 24 years old at the time - when she was only 5 and Val a 2-year-old toddler, brought the siblings close together as they shared the pain of growing up missing their mother.
"We made it through. It was really hard on us both growing up without Mum. When you need consoling it's your mother you go to."
Of course there were times of sibling rivalry, she said.
"I was 8 or 9 and we would having typical sibling fights, driving my father mad. Val had to prove to me out of love was stronger, but apologising if he hurt me."
As they grew older Valentine's hankering for nature and the sea flourished and Shanelle really noticed her brother's "young, wild, and free" approach to life.
"He was always outdoors. He was our family seafood gatherer - always fishing and diving. Sharing whatever he got."
Tuesday, last week, was the final time Shanelle and her two young daughters - who Valentine adored - saw her brother and their uncle alive.
"I wish I had grabbed him like I always did," she said. But there were other people in the room and Valentine was shy. "I always greeted my brother with a hug."
Shanelle was organising camping gear for a weekend trip to family land nestled among the trees in Mangonui when she got the call from her father, Moses Kaka, who was at her brother's bedside in Kaitaia Hospital.
Shanelle recalls the words Moses told her: "It's your brother, he's passed."
"It was all so sudden."
The reality hit Shanelle days later when she was following the vehicle carrying her brother's body. It unexpectedly led her through Matthews Ave, where the accident occurred.
"It hit me. I just honked my horn all the way past the scene to let people know he was home."
Valentine will be buried tomorrow at Mangonui Kenana next to his paternal grandparents.
Police are still investigating the circumstances of Valentine's death. An 18-year-old woman has been charged with common assault, in relation to an earlier incident at the property.