Rukingi Haupapa suffered a stroke 14 years ago.
Fast forward to 2019 and he has completed a Bachelor of Teaching, Masters and now doctorate research focused on stroke and whānau in Te Puku o te Ika (Te Arawa and Mataatua).
"As part of my studies, I've interviewed many whānau between Te Arawa and Mataatua and learned the ways that they were able to survive and live, and want to share their learning with whānau who suffer strokes today and tomorrow," he said.
Haupapa and three other stroke survivors have formed a charitable trust called Awhi Mai Stroke Trust.
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They are organising a Māori stroke conference for Waiariki whānau to be held in Rotorua from October 1 to 3.
They are hoping the hui will discuss the struggles stroke survivors face and how whānau have developed and used successful interventions in their lives.
Haupapa is also hoping whānau from Te Arawa and Mataatua can come together and share stories of struggle, survival and interventions.
"We have the answers within ourselves," he said.