Rob Mokaraka has come back from the brink of death after provoking police to shoot him and is now on a mission to expose the reasons behind his drastic move to end his life.
The professional actor said he was bringing his one-man show to Rotorua for two nights to help "educate whanau and communities about what the signs are so we can keep an eye on each other".
"I had undiagnosed depression and had it for a long time, but didn't know what it was.
"I suppressed those feelings and didn't tell anybody ... I ended up having a meltdown."
On July 27, 2009, Mokaraka was involved in a stand off with police outside his Auckland home where he said he was shot in the chest after "provoking the police to shoot me dead, because that's what I thought I deserved".
"I'm very lucky, I spent nine weeks in hospital and went through multiple surgeries and a lot of court cases.
"This was after years of pretending to be good and not being good, and after one of many relationship break ups making the same mistakes - I had a severe lack of self worth."
He said his play Shot Bro: Confessions of a Depressed Bullet was seven years in the making and he had been touring the country spreading his message of hope.
"What I did was extreme and it took seven years to put this piece of work together so I can now share it in a safe environment for communities and myself."
He said he used "Maori humour" to help get his message across, "it helps open up this heavy subject and fill it with light and emotion".
"You'll see all my personalities there, it's funny, dark and real. I want to help normalise the conversation in a safe way for people to find tools that can help them or their whanau.
"We have a wananga [class] after every show and share a cuppa so we can wind down before people go home.
"The main thing is making people feel safe about taking about suicide and depression.
"It's a massive unseen epidemic in New Zealand, but when men and women stand up and admit they have a sickness like this and are proactive in their healing then they really are
Mokaraka said he was invited to perform his show at Rotorua Boys' High School and while in the city decided to get in touch with some friends and put it on elsewhere.
His two public shows will be held at the Rotorua Youth Centre tomorrow and Saturday.
Shot Bro: Confessions of a Depressed Bullet
- Rob Mokaraka's black comedy about a very real fight with a bullet and depression
- Friday & Saturday 6.30pm, Rotorua Youth Centre, 6 Te Ngae Rd
- Entry by donation
- Forum/sharing time/kai & cuppa after the show
- Contact (07) 343 1012 or email@example.com
Where to get help
■ Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
■ Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
■ Youthline: 0800 376 633
■ Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm to 10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)
■ Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
■ Samaritans: 0800 726 666
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.