James Whenuaroa spent years in a battle between the life he desperately aspired to, and his drink of choice - powdered Raro juice mixed with methylated spirits.
The 53-year-old was in and out of homelessness and a chronic alcoholic. Records show that by 2012 he had more than 350 criminal convictions.
But he was also a loved father to AJ, Tamara, Luana and the late Saphire, a respected brother and an adored koro to all his moko. He was sensitive and generous.
He'd spot a guitar in any room and have the people who tried to help him in tears when he sang his favourite waiata, Ehara I Te Mea.
In June 2017, Whenuaroa died at Wellington Hospital a week after he was found outside a social housing block with critical head injuries.
Police investigated the case and ended up referring the death to the Coroner.
But the Coroner could not determine how Whenuaroa sustained his fatal injuries, saying they were either accidentally self-inflicted or the result of an assault.
The uncertainty surrounding Whenuaroa's death rests heavy in the minds of his family, who feel a sense of hopelessness not knowing what happened to him.
'He was a charmer'
Tamara Awhina Whenuaroa spoke to her dad two weeks before the incident. She rang to tell him about the passing of her koro.
Whenuaroa told her he hadn't been drinking for more than a month and was doing well.
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Tamara was happy for him and was thinking about getting him a bus ticket to come home to Whanganui, where her own family was growing.
But that reunion was not to be.
Whenuaroa wasn't around for the majority of his daughter's childhood because alcohol was his main priority.
But he would always try and hitch-hike from wherever he was in the country to make an appearance on Tamara's birthday.
"He loved his alcohol but he loved his kids as well," she said.
Tamara, 26, now has five children of her own and is pregnant with her sixth. Whenuaroa has never met two of them and will never get the chance to meet the one on the way.
Her eldest daughter is named Saphire, after her sister who was still-born. When Tamara was a child, Whenuaroa would sometimes take her to the pā to visit Saphire's final resting place.
Tamara fiercely feels the pain of not knowing how her father suffered his fatal injuries.
"It's on my head every day and it's not just affecting me it's affecting my family. I nut out and close myself up and not let anybody in because I need to know and I can't find it out."
Whenuaroa met Tamara's mother at Whanganui's Castlecliff Club in the early 1990s.
"He was a charmer and a very nice looking young man, actually," Annette Gray said.
She can recall a band playing in the background when Whenuaroa made the first move and got her phone number.
Their relationship blossomed and lasted for about six years.
As the couple got to know each other they realised they'd actually met before as children when they were both placed in the same social welfare home.
Whenuaroa was abused as a child, which many believe is the reason behind his drinking and mental health issues.
"So I understood and always tried to help him but I couldn't have the violence around the children so I had to just let him go," Gray said.
She's had similar conversations with Whenuaroa more recently about his drink of choice, methylated spirits.
"I said to him I don't mind you drinking alcohol but you've got to get off that stuff, we can't have it around the babies, his grandchildren."
Even though Whenuaroa and Gray had not been romantically involved for decades they still cared for one another.
Whenuaroa had a habit of ringing her before she started work early in the morning.
He'd ask her: "Annette Gray, when are you going to marry me?"
She'd tell him: "When you stop drinking and get your life together."
The phone calls went on for years.
"I miss him tremendously. I miss those phone calls because when I had the phone calls I knew he was okay," she said.
Whenuaroa's final return home is shrouded in melancholy.
His ashes rest in a small white box at Gray's house, a place that was always out of reach for him while he was alive.
What the Coroner says
Coroner Tim Scott conducted the inquiry into Whenuaroa's death.
On the afternoon of June 17, 2017, Whenuaroa began drinking with his partner and her son at a Lower Hutt address.
The group then got a bus to Wellington city, where they wandered around for a while before deciding to go to Arlington Apartments to try and find one of their friends.
Whenuaroa stumbled over and hurt his face several times along the way.
By the time the trio arrived at the social housing block Whenuaroa was so intoxicated he was unable to walk or support himself unaided.
The group could not find their friend and as they were leaving the apartments they met three Black Power gang members, one of whom Whenuaroa's partner was acquainted with.
Their meeting led to her son being punched in the face. He didn't retaliate but indicated to his mother that he wanted to leave.
By that time it had become too difficult for them to help Whenuaroa so they left him on the ground outside the apartments.
"Without in any way intending the comment to be offensive, 'he had become a dead weight to them'," the Coroner's report reads.
"When they left him, he was not responding to them but he was alive."
Nearby residents later told police there was a commotion outside the apartments and remembered seeing two or three men milling around, but no one remembered seeing anyone fall or be assaulted.
Eventually one of the residents saw Whenuaroa lying on the ground, went to check on him and called for an ambulance.
Coroner Scott said Whenuaroa's partner and her son fully expected Whenuaroa to sleep off his intoxicated state and be functioning the next morning.
"What I do not know for certain is whether the injuries that were in effect self-inflicted to James when he fell or stumbled were the only injuries he suffered and whether he died as a result of further assault."
The police investigation
In a statement, Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Mallon said police have reviewed the coroner's findings relating to the tragic death of Whenuaroa.
"Police believe they have a good understanding around the events leading up to Whenuaroa sustaining his injuries and evidence to date has not identified anyone else was involved.
However, if any new information came to light this would be investigated."
At the time of Whenuaroa's death, police issued several press releases calling for people to come forward if they had seen him that night or had any relevant information.
Police described James as a well-known street personality in Wellington's CBD.
"He was well liked and generally friendly to all people that had contact with him."
Resident Heilyn Harrison spoke to the Herald at the time.
When she heard a noise near her bedroom window she went outside to find Whenuaroa lying alone on the ground.
"He had two black eyes and a fat face. His face looked like it had been stomped on. He had blood gushing out of his head. He was unconscious."
Harrison said she told her friend to ring an ambulance and later overheard paramedics saying Whenuaroa's body temperature had dropped dangerously low.
When Whenuaroa was admitted to hospital with his head injuries he was about seven times the legal drink-driving limit.
Anyone with new information about the case can contact Wellington Police on 04 381 2000.
'Falling through the cracks in their legions'
In 2012 Whenuaroa was sentenced to six weeks' prison for entering a supermarket he'd been barred from and stealing a bottle of orange juice.
His counsel at the time, Anna Brosnahan, told Judge Gerard Lynch it was no use telling her client he could not drink. He was a "chronic alcoholic", she said, and had been to every rehabilitation centre and programme in town, to no effect.
Whenuaroa's addiction would have made him a likely candidate for supported-living units which will soon be built in Wellington.
The units are effectively mayor Justin Lester's campaign promise of a wet house.
People living there will get 24-7 wraparound support but alcohol will not be banned.
DCM executive director Stephanie McIntyre said overseas evidence pointed to the success of these types of living situations.
"They're supporting people like James to sustain their tenancies and actually stay alive, because we're talking about a man who's died and never achieved that quality of life that he really aspired to and desired."
At DCM there are boxes of files filled with the records of people who've died too young.
Whenuaroa's file includes benefit documents, trespass warrants, electricity connections and housing records.
DCM staff fondly remember the pride Whenuaroa took in the accommodation they housed him in at one stage, right down to his towels being carefully folded on the end of his bed.
McIntyre said there was a lot of ignorance about the nature of addiction.
"People out there who don't really know and understand addiction think it's a matter of just pulling yourself up by your bootstraps but this is a man that we know carried significant trauma from abuse as a child and the genesis of his addiction went right back into early childhood."
Whenuaroa's life ended before Housing First could be set up in Wellington, before a mayoral campaign promise was made to end homelessness, and before the Wellbeing Budget was delivered.
Knowing they couldn't offer the help Whenuaroa needed, DCM staff would try to comfort him.
"The Jameses in our communities are still falling through the cracks and they're falling through the cracks in their legions. James is just one person but we could name you dozens and dozens of Jameses that we're working with," McIntyre said.