After 52 years, Mate Kremic came face-to-face with his father for the first time through the Herald on Sunday.
It was only a few lines in a court judgment but the impact on Kremic was like a bomb going off. Those lines in the court judgment featured in a story about the late Tihomir Posa, who died aged 86 on October 2, 2018.
"Tim Posa was difficult in life and difficult in death", it began, recounting how the cantankerous Croat had dangled the prospect of inheriting his $1.6m house in front of a string of women to get the care and company he wanted.
Two of those women wound up contesting Posa's will in the High Court at Auckland, as reported in the Herald on Sunday last month. Woven into that story was Posa's claim to a lawyer that "he had no children".
Kremic called the Herald. "Tihomir Posa was my father," he said, and thought it was possibly the first time he had said those words out loud.
"It is true - he is his son," says long-time Massey fruiterer George Vezich, who knew Posa for decades.
The pair had sat one day watching Vezich's children. "Tim told me on many, many occasions he had messed his life up. He had broken up with a woman. He didn't want to pay child support."
Wrong approach, says Vezich, but Posa always was stubborn as a mule. He had a dispute with his brother over property 40 years ago and, as a result, never spoke to him again.
Evidence in the court case talks of Posa's commanding and demanding ways. Vezich tries to shy away from this. Instead, he remembers arriving in New Zealand from Yugoslavia in 1965, buying his first car then driving it into a post. Posa, the wizard panel beater, "fixed it up and it cost me next to nothing".
And the tractor Posa fixed, ironing out a design fault. Vezich recalls Posa declaring "for 100 years it will be okay". "I can't forget that. To me, he did it from his heart."
Posa had a lot of heart for the opposite sex. Vezich recalls his friend's pursuits in the 1960s when he was a swinging saxophonist. "He wants this relation with a lady only when it suits him. And then another woman and another woman."
And one of those women, it seems, was Dragica Musin, Kremic's mother, who gave birth to him in 1969 at Auckland Hospital.
She was 37 when Kremic arrived, at a time when an unmarried mother faced condemnation, isolation and even scorn. It was also a decade in which the number of unmarried mothers almost doubled (up from 24 (1961) to 44 (1971) in every 1000 births).
For the first eight years of his life, Kremic was raised during the week by another woman, one who became so much like another mother there was talk of adoption. Dragica worked as a seamstress during the week, collecting her boy for weekends, returning him ahead of the working week to come.
That weekday-weekend arrangement ended when Dragica married and moved with her husband, Ljubomir (Lou) Kremic, to Rotorua. That's where Kremic was raised and where he lives to this day.
"I've had a good life, mate," he says. "I can't complain."
He grew up in the house he has inherited since his mother and adoptive father died. A Croatian family moved in next door and it was as if it was one big family. One house subscribed to the NZ Herald and the other to The Daily Post so they swapped papers after reading. In the evening, they got together to watch Coronation Street.
Kremic left school and trained to be a chef. With his first pay, he bought his mum a dinner set and his dad a book on war. When the second pay arrived, Lou Kremic sat the young man down and explained he had to move out or start paying rent. Kremic chose to pay rent.
"He saved it for me every week. I needed his signature to get it out. He was a good man."
Lou Kremic died in 2001 and it was Kremic and his mum from then on, as it had been at the beginning.
Posa tried some sort of return into their lives. Kremic recalls his mother, furtive on the phone over a few days before admitting who had been calling.
One day the phone rang and Kremic answered. "I'm your father," Posa said, and talked about visiting.
"I said, 'I'm sorry mate, you can't come here. I don't want you here'." Then he rang Spark to get the number changed, to have it kept out of the phone book and to block Caller ID.
When he told his mum, she asked: "Do you want to go and see him?" "I said, 'What for?'"
"After that, I heard nothing else from him. I never heard nothing."
Dragica died with a brain tumour on July 29, 2016 and so it was just Kremic. Those next years after her loss were difficult, he admits.
There wasn't that same difficulty when a cousin rang to tell him Posa had died. He thought about going to the funeral. "I was going to walk in, see what it looked like and then walk out."
"I thought, 'for what? To upset myself?'" So he stayed home in Rotorua.
Three years later, Kremic opened up the Herald on Sunday and for the first time saw a photograph of the man he believes was his father.
The line in the story in which Posa distances himself from having children came during his visit to a lawyer a few years before he died. Posa was after a new will, which would leave everything to Ortencia Tenchavez, whom he had met six months earlier, and appointing her pastor, Adrian Codilla, as executor.
The lawyer described Posa as difficult to understand so he repeated much of the conversation back to him, to make sure he had the right of it. Posa said "he had never married, nor had any children".
When it came time to send the new will, the lawyer wrote a cover letter in which he recalled Posa's assurance "he had no children, grandchildren, partner or any person who would have had a claim on his estate".
This is what found its way into the judgment and from there to the newspaper.
For Kremic, it was a shot to the gut, the heart, the head. It was the nail in the coffin, long after everyone else was gone.
His mother left Posa, Kremic believes. When Posa started calling "she said he was no good", Kremic recalls. His mother never swore in English but she used the choicest of words when talking about Posa. She said they looked alike but she only ever looked at her son with love.
And so, he picked up the phone and called the Herald. Posa did have a son, he said, and that is me. And that son had a mother, and she did it hard because of this man.
Rodney Nelson, whose mum Lale Nelson spent nearly 50 years with Posa, was awarded 65 per cent of the Massey home they had - more often than not - shared. When asked about a son, he's startled.
Then he rang his mum, called back and said, yes, there was a boy. And if he would like or need, says Nelson, then he will show him where Posa is buried.
No thanks, says Kremic. He knows where Posa is. He just doesn't feel a need to go there.
Denying his existence, as Posa did, wasn't just a rejection of Kremic. It dismissed his mother, and those years she did everything she could for her boy because there was no one else.
"I don't want a cent from him," he said. "The only reason I'm doing this is for my mum."