In Ngongotaha, on the shores of Lake Rotorua, sit two houses. The four-bedroom, two-storey homes look like any other from the outside.
But inside they are a haven for families in need; a refuge, a place to grieve or relax, and a place to create new or recollect old memories.
The two houses make up the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat, the only one in the country. A week free accommodation is offered to families who have experienced the impact of a chronic or long-term illness or a bereavement.
May 1 marked 10 years since the first sods were turned at the retreat and today is the charity's annual street appeal.
The retreat was officially opened on February 14, 2009.
Local McDonald's owners Rob and Lynley Parry were a key part of bringing to life the retreat, which welcomes about 80 families a year.
The lakeside property was picked as the site for the retreat back in mid-2007. After its purchase Lions Clubs around the country helped to raise $830,000 to build the houses.
A decade later, Rob Parry said they expected to welcome the 500th family this year.
"It's an amazing experience when you greet them," Parry said.
"It can be either really happy because the kid has finally left the hospital, or they've just lost a child and that's really tough. You see them at the start and at the end of the week and there's been a lot of healing there."
Running the retreat does not come cheap, costing roughly $100,000 a year, but Parry said thanks to locals it was entirely self-sufficient and did not need funds from the national charity.
Tourism operators donate experiences to the families who stay there, a local dry cleaner cleans the sheets at no cost, and the more than 200 staff at the city's McDonald's can choose to donate from their pay each week.
"It means families can have an amazing experience that's not going to financially drown them," Parry said.
"At the end of the week the family are blown away by the retreat and by Rotorua as well because the locals treat them like royalty."
The Supper Club, a dinner and auction, is the key fundraiser for the retreat. This year's event raised more than $140,000.
Parry said the retreat epitomised what Ronald McDonald House Charities was all about.
"It's about looking after families, helping them in difficult times.
"Often there are other siblings going through hell themselves, so it's really cool they can come here and actually just be kids."
Ronald McDonald House Charities chief executive Wayne Howett said Rotorua was the perfect place to get away.
"We've had families stay with us for four-and-a-half years. Being stuck in [hospital housing] is difficult so we give them the opportunity to get away and recuperate as a family in an environment away from the hospital," Howett said.
"Rotorua does such a great job of hosting families and helping them forget about all their troubles."
He said the Rotorua retreat benefited not just the families but the community.
"If you go to any event that's related to the retreat, people are very, very proud of what they've done and how they support these families, and families feel that love and connection," Howett said.
"It's fantastic for those families and they get to see Rotorua as a fun city, a place where people want to give back to people in a difficult situation.
"I think it goes both ways."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick agreed.
"The retreat gives a gift of time out for families in stressful times. It is a sanctuary and a space to just be themselves in a stunning environment," Chadwick said.
By the numbers:
- 80 families stayed at the two houses in 2017 for a combined total of almost 500 nights.
- It costs $100,000 per year to run.
- Made up of two, four-bedroom, two-storey houses on the lakefront.
- More than 100 families from the Lakes District Health Board area stayed at a Ronald McDonald House for a combined 1200 nights last year.
-The two houses are called the R&B Lodge - after project manager Ray Cook and his wife Barbara - and Lions Lodge after the Lions Clubs.