Tears are streaming down Dylan Hoete's cheeks. His partner of 12 years, Learna Tawhai, is sitting next to him, clinging to his arm.

Her eyes are pooling, ready to overflow. Her man is way past that point. His emotions are spilling over.

"I still feel it every day," Hoete says.

Guilt. Remorse.

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The 27-year-old swallows mid-sentence.

"Especially when it comes to them. It took me that long to get my sh** together."

Hoete is talking about the couple's three children, who he says lived with other family members for a period of time from 2017.

Hoete and Tawhai, who is

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