One adopted Kiwi is inspiring others like him to trace their roots with a new video project.
Alex Gilbert, founder of the I'm Adopted charity, has begun recording the stories of his adopted friends and sharing them online. The filmmaker and production assistant has completed two so far and has at least 250 written stories on his website.
"It's just sharing the idea that you're not the only person out there. So many people have different stories and experiences trying to search or not search.
"It's a sense of relief that everything is okay."
Gilbert was adopted from Russia after spending his first two years in an orphanage. The 25-year-old grew up in a supportive family in Whanagrei but always wondered about his birth parents. He didn't even know what they looked like.
In 2013 he used social media to track down his mother who told him the real name of his birth father. A fake name had been used on his documents.
Gilbert told his birth father he was his son on a Russian version of Facebook using Google translate. He said his dad was shocked but after doing the maths and seeing how similar they looked said, "I guess that makes sense".
At the end of 2013 Gilbert traveled to Russia to meet them for the first time.
"I didn't know what to say or expect. Overall it was just a big nervousness. It was the weirdest experience I've ever had."
Gilbert only had three hours with his mum, speaking via a translator, in her tiny apartment. She had weathered a hard life having been brought up in an orphanage and falling pregnant as a teenager.
"She was quite quiet and cold. She's quite a closed person who doesn't show too much emotion. It's okay, it's the way she is.
"[Dad] was quite shocked but he opened up very fast. It was awesome."
Gilbert's dad warmly welcomed him with a hug and ruffled his hair before introducing him to his wife and Gilbert's 8-month-old sister.
Gilbert then created the I'm Adopted project to encourage more adopted children to connect with each other.