Aaron Tousoon and Tim Hosking have been mates since they were about 10 years old in Waikanae.
Now in their 30s, they've taken their friendship to a new level - Hosking has given Tousoon one of his kidneys.
And he's urging other healthy Kiwis to think about whether they could give the gift of life to one of the 550 people still on the waiting list.
Tousoon has IgA nephropathy, similar to the kidney disease suffered by rugby legend Jonah Lomu. In a healthy person the antibody IgA helps fight infection but Tousoon's IgA attacks and damages his kidneys.
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By his early 20s his kidneys were failing. His mum donated one of hers in 2007 and he spent the next decade in good health - but they always knew it wouldn't last.
Hosking promised his mate back then he would be first in line when the donated kidney gave out.
This time it was Tousoon's climbing creatinine levels that alerted the specialists that the organ was failing. Brain fog crept in and he was exhausted at the end of day's plastering and painting.
For his wife Waikura it was the worst experience of her life to watch him deteriorate in front of her eyes.
"He looked terrible. He was really really skinny, his skin was grey, he had dark circles under his eyes, he could barely stay awake," she said.
The couple spent many days away from their young kids, with Tousoon hooked up to dialysis 15 hours a week.
They were told it would be much harder to find a match this time round as Tousoon would have created more antibodies following his first transplant. Without a match, he could be on dialysis for years as he waited for a kidney from a deceased donor.
Several of Tousoon's friends went and got tested. The chance of Hosking and Tousoon matching was around 20 per cent but incredibly, they matched. Months of tests found Hosking was healthy and could donate with no problems.
It took months before Tousoon was healthy enough for the operation, which occurred on September 30. The pair met early that morning before Hosking went into theatre and surgeons removed his left kidney. By midday the op was over, and an hour later Tousoon was rolled into the operating theatre.
Surgeons connected the new transplant to blood vessels in Tousoon's pelvis. The organ quickly started processing the toxins from Tousoon's blood. When he woke from the operation, his head was clear. By 10pm he was back with his family. His skin colour was back and he looked better than he had in months.
The Tousoons are staying at Ronald McDonald House by Wellington Hospital so he can be closely monitored. So far there are no signs of Tousoon's body rejecting the kidney and his blood levels are as good as someone with two healthy kidneys.
His medical team hope the kidney will last 15-20 years or even longer.
Tousoon's got a whole new perspective on life. He wants to get fit and go back to work. He's looking forward to proper showers and a life without dialysis.
But most of all he's looking forward to time with his family.
He's incredibly grateful to everyone who got him to this point - the medical team, his family, and Hosking for sacrificing a kidney. "It's going to lead to another chance at life, the chance to actually see my kids grow up."
Kidney Health general manager Michael Campbell said last year 200 kidney transplants were performed in New Zealand, and 180 in 2017.
In 2017 69 kidneys were from living donors - 33 genetic relatives, 28 "emotionally related" and four strangers.
Dialysis costs more than a kidney transplant, which pays for itself in 18 months, Campbell said. But our rates of donation are far lower than countries like Australia, and right now 550 people in New Zealand are waiting for a kidney.
Hosking said it was "really sad and unnecessary" for there to be a waiting list for kidneys.
"There are millions of healthy people in New Zealand - there are millions of spare parts."
He believed people didn't know there was a need, or thought they needed their second kidney. But the likelihood of a donor's remaining kidney failing was very low, and if there were more donors it wouldn't be a problem, he said.
Now home in Porirua with his family, Hosking is feeling "primo" with one kidney.
Once recovered he's been told he can resume working as an engineer, spearfishing, even freediving. The sacrifices are tiny - things like not taking ibuprofen or eating too many bananas.
Hosking's wife has been very supportive and accepted the outcome was worth the risk, he said. She had always understood he would be giving a kidney one day - if he didn't match with Tousoon, it would go to the next person in the queue.
"It would be kept anonymous so you wouldn't get the privilege of being close to a family and seeing it turn their life around - but it's still worth doing."