Kiwi entertainer Pio Terei says a bike ride to commemorate his late son Teina has helped him and his wife Deb to come to terms with their grief.
The popular Māori actor, singer and comedian opened up about the heartache his family has felt since they lost their youngest boy to leukaemia three years ago.
"There's things that happen that just destroy you," Pio explained in an emotional interview with The Hui.
"I think the big thing with losing a child is it just doesn't make sense."
Teina was following in his dad's footsteps as an entertainer, with the bubbly youngster having starred in television commercials since he was a child.
But in 2015, the family's world was turned upside down, when the then 16-year-old was rushed to hospital after a blood test raised concerns with doctors.
He spent five months at Auckland's Starship hospital and underwent several rounds of chemo treatment before going into remission soon after his 17th birthday.
Things seemed to go back to normal for the family, but 18 months after his initial diagnosis, Teina's life was claimed by the disease.
The family's pain has been immense and Pio and Deb admit they found it too heart-wrenching to acknowledge Teina's birthdays over the last three years.
That all changed this year however, when a group of Teina's close friends decided they would bike from Auckland to his resting place in Mitimiti, to honour his memory on what would have been his 21st birthday.
"Birthdays are incredibly hard for us," Deb told The Hui. "It was easier just for the day to come and go. They just took that out of our hands by going 'we're going to do the ride'."
The group took turns riding and traveling in a support van before reuniting with Pio and Deb and Teina's other loved ones at Mitimiti.
"To be here with our close friends and family and celebrate it alongside him, here where he is, it's awesome," Michael Robinson, one of Teina's friends, told The Hui.
Pio says the emotion of the occasion has helped him and Deb learn to live with their grief and sadness.
"I didn't think it would help us this much through our process of grieving, and I saw it with Deb today," Pio told The Hui.
"She really let go. And I was so pleased. I think next year is going to be a stronger year for us."