Personal stories were shared and songs dedicated to lost loved ones at the inaugural Waiata in the Pā event.
The issue was suicide, the message: tell your whānau you love them.
More than 100 people attended the inaugural event at Pikirangi Marae to raise suicide awareness.
Organised by Patua te Taniwha Charitable Trust, it combined speeches from people with experience with depression and bereavement from suicide, with music.
Rob Mokaraka, who has been sharing his story for three years, was among those to address the crowd.
In 2009 Mokaraka had a mental breakdown and provoked the police to shoot him. He was shot at close range in the chest but survived. After multiple surgeries and court cases, he recovered.
"I had many people pool their aroha around me ... Eventually, I started to have therapy and through that healing, sharing stories I created my own tool for healing which is lived experience.
"As you share your story you help release another person hiding in the shadows."
Mokaraka said he aimed to show people they were not alone.
"They are allowed as much help as they need as often as they need it. There's shame around being vulnerable and part of that shame is killing us."
For St John Lakes territory manager Leisa Tocknell, suicide is a cause close to her heart. Tocknell was providing first aid at the event but also shared her perspective on the issue, just one day after someone she knew took their life.
"Many suicide victims often announce the whānau is better off without them and no one will care that they are gone. It is simply not true.
"My message is about being kind, ensuring people know you care."
Kairua founder Patrick Salmon was also among the speakers and said at one point he didn't leave his home for three months.
"I got locked in this prison. I had a cage around my own head. It took me a long time to get out of that. Every day I worked on it and realised I was too blessed to be stressed. I had to push through it."
Nix Adams from social media page Cooked Whanau Korero with Nix also shared her experience with suicidal thoughts after her 16-month-old died.
"I didn't know how to deal with my grief."
Adams started taking drugs and lost her husband and other children before deciding to face her trauma head-on.
She started a Facebook page on which she would livestream her struggles every day.
As multiple people shared stories and songs, MC Krissie Knap summed up the day.
"It does get hard. Sometimes you find that dark space ... But I think all the awhi is amazing. Text your whānau and say 'I love you'."
Trust chairwoman Mataku-Ariki de Roo said the day was effective in raising awareness.
"It was just a beautiful day of sharing stories and encouragement.
"The speakers, the singers, the whānau atmosphere has bee empowering and the message is clear. It's about supporting each other and looking out for the signs."
For more information find Patua Te Taniwha Charitable Trust on Facebook.
Where to get help:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757