In a topsy-turvy world full to the brim with so much division and sadness, the happy ending to the story of the missing East Cape toddler Axle Hamblyn was magnificent.
The 3-year-old boy with long blonde locks and an infectious smile was missing in a forestry block near Tolaga Bay for 19 hours. Think rugged hills and deep gullies lined with pine trees.
Axle spent an entire night by himself in the dark wearing only a T-shirt, nappy and gumboots. The temperature dropped to 7C.
Within hours of his disappearance, hundreds of people from Tolaga Bay and surrounding communities descended upon the Mangatuna property.
Forestry workers, fencers, volunteer firefighters, police and local farmers joined the search; it seemed no one in the district could bear the thought of staying home while Axle was out there in the elements.
The hills were flooded with people calling out for him, others jumped into nearby rivers to look for him; several were cooking kai for the searchers.
This outpouring of support and aroha [love] came without conditions.
The searchers traipsing through the hard terrain most likely had never met the family they rushed to help: The Hamblyns had only been living in the area for a month.
Axle's mother explained: "We didn't know anyone from a bar of soap." And yet, complete strangers came to their aid.
I was sent to report on the search and arrived in town after Axle had been found. The atmosphere was electric.
People were buzzing and I couldn't help but smile along with them.
It felt like the entire nation breathed a sigh of relief after news of his discovery quickly spread.
No one knows how Axle got through the night but his rescuer — a Tolaga Bay local — said the first thing the toddler wanted was his mum. I would too.
Thinking about the people from the East Cape this week got me thinking about a song.
It's called Blackfella/Whitefella, written by an Australian country and Aboriginal rock group called Warumpi Band and released in 1985.
It's a song about reconciliation and is as applicable now as it was when it was released.
The song's message is that no matter what your skin colour, religion, what your name is or where you're from: "it's all the same when the ship is sinking".
Too often our news and social media feeds are full of anger and sadness and hate.
Whether it's over sports or religion, it seems humans have the ability to find a reason to loathe someone not seeing the world as they do.
What I learned from Axle's disappearance is that, deep down, people are usually more than happy to help one another in dire times of need.
Despite the vitriol we often see online, we still live in a country where people care for each other.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of that fact.
As a motelier in Gisborne explained: "New Zealand needs a story like that every once in a while."