A talented young Māori musician has written a book, called Impossible, outlining in detail his childhood of domestic violence and rape. His name is Stan Walker.
Addiction, suicide attempts and surviving stomach cancer. You would have thought that someone who had been through all that would be dead, in jail, or inflicting his negative experiences on his own family.
Against all odds, the 30-year-old's achievements and outlook seem impossible and this is his story so far. Touring the country to promote his book, Stan has mental health advocate and entertainer Mike King along for the ride to chat about his life, in between performances of his award-winning music.
In a fatherly way, Mike is also there for crowd control as Stan is determined this is to be an interactive show where the audience can ask questions. He wants his story to be told, and he doesn't want any confusion about what happened, why or how he got to where he is today.
A teaser for what was to come had shown on TV documentary show Sunday before Stan's Taupō show, An Intimate Evening, on November 27. Stan was welcomed to the Great Lake Centre, Taupō, with an impromptu powhiri performed by Ngāti Tūwharetoa representatives Tyson Taikato, Benoir Midwood-Murray, Anne-Marie Midwood-Murray and Oriana Paul.
Anne-Marie said they wanted to show support to Stan as the subjects he covers are very important.
"When we have a taonga [treasure] coming here and sharing, it is a small part for us to welcome him."
Waiting for the Taupō show to start was Isaac Andrews, 21, who wants to hear first-hand about what Stan went through. He also bought a ticket for his mate RJ Hopa.
"Maybe I can take something away and Stan can help my life and then I can help others.
"And of course I am here for the music!" said Isaac.
RJ, 18, had also seen the Sunday documentary and says he wants to hear Stan's story in person so he can compare it to his own story.
"I will have a better feel for his words and emotions in person, than on the TV," said RJ.
Part singing, part discussion, Mike King hosted the chat part of the evening.
"A beautiful korero with Stan so we get to meet the inside of this young man."
The audience is warned the content is graphic, and Mike says if anyone feels triggered they are to go outside the auditorium.
Mike's opening line is to ask Stan if he ever wished Oranga Tamariki had uplifted him as a child, so he could have escaped from his violent father. Stan answers "no", saying he would have been denied his whakapapa and way of life living among his extended family beside Tamapahore marae near Papamoa Beach.
"He [Papa] was taught to hate people by his father. [As a society] we need to educate and rehabilitate so they [domestic violence perpetrators] can change the world."
Murmurings of "kia ora" come from the audience, and it is apparent many people are in agreement with Stan. Impossible depicts how Stan's father made a dramatic change to his life and is now a peaceful and loving person.
"He had to learn how to be a husband and a father. When he was violent he saw his role as being a master."
Running from their father, and moving from house to house was a feature for Stan, his two brothers and mother.
"I have vivid images of Mum getting smashed down. She would get beaten and raped so us three boys wouldn't get hurt or killed."
Another relative raped Stan daily between the ages of 8 and 9 years old. He says he couldn't go to his father about it as he would have been beaten. He and Mike relieve the audience of the trauma by laughing, we all laugh along. They are so funny, but everyone is aware Stan has a message he wants to share.
"The predator saw a vulnerability in me. He picked me out."
Mike says the chapter in Impossible about sex abuse is the most authentic account he has ever read.
"It's an insight into the mindset of the victim. He [Stan] felt guilty for something he was innocent of."
It's question time. Stan wants the serious issues to be addressed, he wants to hear what the doubters are thinking, he wants no holds barred.
He is asked how he can resolve his Christian faith with the oppression Māori suffered at the hands of Christian missionaries and the church. Stan answers that separating religion from faith allows him to focus on his relationship with God. Another person asks him how he is so comfortable being effeminate when he is not gay and when he works in an industry focused on masculinity. Stan says after all he has been through he is not concerned about how others view him.
• Stan Walker's autobiography Impossible is on sale now.