When Rukingi Haupapa had a stroke he had to relearn the basics - he couldn't talk and needed photos to remind him who his whānau were.
Fifteen years later, the researcher and Ōhinemutu village resident is devoted to helping others affected by the life-threatening diagnosis.
A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to part of the brain, causing it to stop working and eventually damaging brain cells, also called a brain attack.
After his stroke Haupapa founded the Awhi Mai Stroke Trust with fellow survivors and now he is planning hui across the Bay of Plenty and Tokoroa to coincide with stroke and speech language therapy awareness weeks in September and October.
He gained his masters degree in indigenous studies from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi in 2015 and has since started a PhD.
Both studies involved interviewing other whānau in the Bay of Plenty and Taupō area who have had to support a family member after they suffered a stroke.
One of the things that stood out most to Haupapa in his studies is there were a lot of support services for people affected by strokes but those people were not connected with the services.
He suspects part of this is the lack of a kaupapa Māori approach to health problems.
"We have many trusts, many health clinics, many support groups all around the place but we are not quite sure why but many of our own Māori families, whānau are not accessing what is already available."
So Awhi Mai's purpose is to advise and connect people who have had a stroke, and their family members, to other families who are going through the same thing and with experts who can help them with support services.
"We've all learned some hard lessons," he told the Rotorua Daily Post.
"The key words [are] in our title. Awhi Mai, comes from the proverb 'awhi mai, awhi atu'. When I had a stroke I needed help at the beginning and that is what awhi mai means. The second part, awhi atu, is when I'm stronger I will help others."
The hui he is hosting will include mihi, karakia and waiata as well as an introduction to Awhi Mai Stroke Charitable Trust and other organisations attending, whānau visit displays, consumer feedback and a chance for questions and answers.
Tokoroa: September 7, 10am to 1pm at the hospital library
Maketū: September 8, 10.30am to 1pm at Hauora House
Whakatāne: September 11, 10.30am to 1pm at the hospital Māori offices
Rotorua: October 6, 11am to 1.30pm at the hospital atrium
Tauranga: October 9, 10am to 1.30pm at the hospital Māori offices