Hope. Sometimes it feels like there just isn't any.
Artist Graham Hoete, known as Mr G (Ngāti Awa, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui) knows about hope, and what it feels like to hit rock bottom.
So to come to Tūrangi last week and work with local rangatahi to produce a mural on the theme of tumanako - hope - was an especially significant project.
Mr G was commissioned to produce the artwork on the side of the Tūwharetoa FM building in the Tūrangi town centre by Te Puni Kokiri.
Part of the brief was to engage and inspire rangatahi Māori through the skill of artistry, by creating a mural that would represent the people, most importantly the rangatahi of Tūrangitukua-Tūwharetoa iwi.
Funded through Te Puni Kokiri's Rangatahi Suicide Prevention Fund, the project also aims to bring tumanako, or hope, to rangatahi in small towns affected by suicide.
Mr G is a Tauranga-based multi-disciplinary artist who does everything from fine art exhibitions in galleries to special interest projects, but he says the tumanako project also reflects his own path.
"The big picture of this kaupapa is my own journey of going through a suicidal point seven years ago and that's why my heart is invested in this when we talk about hope," Mr G explained.
"Hope was what stopped me taking my own life and for me it was Iku Karaiti, Jesus Christ."
"When you connect with people heart to heart, when you share your story, that's what makes this kaupapa real and relevant."
The journey began when Mr G visited Tūrangi in February and held a day-long wananga (workshop) with local rangatahi, brainstorming ideas and sharing his own and wife Milly's stories of depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as how they survived.
He also spent time with Te Takinga New of Ngāti Tūrangitukua to learn about some of the local stories and histories of the Turangi area that might be incorporated into the artwork.
Then Mr G and Milly returned to Tūrangi last week to begin the mural, with the help of a group of between eight and 12 rangatahi each day, enthusiastic to lend a hand.
Milly says the rangatahi worked hard, prepping the wall first with a wash and then painting all the background colours.
Each young person was given a letter to work on, with Mr G then adding the fine details last Thursday. The mural was completed and unveiled last Friday morning.
Tūrangi is the first small town to be gifted a mural by Mr G Hoete, with the second in Opotiki this week, Milly said.
"It's really to give rangatahi a voice in their community, provide them a way of bringing something positive. "
Mr G grew up in Kawerau and says because of that he has a real heart and a passion for young people living in small towns.
He says the tumanako project is all about injecting hope into small towns through mahi toi (art), and using art to communicate ideas from the rangatahi themselves, with each letter telling a story or different concept inside an overall message of hope.
Watching on as Mr G put the final touches to each letter were a group of young wahine who had been helping through the tumanako project.
They said the message was intended for all of Tūrangi but especially for young people.
"Everyone goes through their own struggles," said one. "We want to share the different stories in our community, the history and stuff through the letters because each letter has a different meaning.
Turangi has been rocked over the years by a string of suicides among its young people and the rangatahi at the tumanako project had all been affected by it.
"It's big as," said one of the size of the problem. "The sad thing is that nobody really talks about it.
"Most of them were my cousins, our schoolmates."
The young wahine said they hoped the mural would remind other young people that there is always hope - tumanako - out there.
"They will be like, there's the hope there, and they'll be sitting there trying to find their hope. That's what I feel like anyway when I look at the wall," said one.
They also thought the mural would brighten up the town centre which at times can feel empty.
"When you walk through here it's not really welcoming but now that I walk in here it's like the whole of Tūrangi is awake, it's alive now."
"I'm proud to say we did this, whānau."
The Tumanako Project
T represents identity
U represents the nurturing, birthing waters of Pihanga
M represents a Tūrangitukua whakatauki about overcoming challenges in life using different strategies
A represents Lake Rotopounamu and the heart of Maui's fish, from where Pihanga came.
N is about perseverance, never giving up because there is always hope.
A represents te hau o Tunono and the restorative power of being outside in nature.
K is based on the haka Ka Mate, about facing life and the future
O shows a young person looking upward with a sparkle in their eye as a reminder that the community are the kaitiaki of the sparkle in their tamariki's eyes.
WHERE TO GET HELP
■ Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
■ Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
■ Youth services: (06) 3555 906
■ Youthline: 0800 376 633
■ Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
■ Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
■ Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
■ Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
■ Helpline: 1737
■ If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111