Family focuses on supporting youth in honour of their lost loved one

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: West Coast

15 years ago, Zack and Georgina Makoare lost their teenage son Kelly to suicide at just 15 years old.

After losing their son, they set up a trust, Te Taitimu, which allows them to help other families through difficult times.

15 years on since Kelly Makoare left this world, his memory is finally being taken home to his mother's marae in Pukehou.

His father, Zack Makoare says, “He was a bright eyed boy who was really loved by his community so I'd like that to be remembered of our son that he was a good person.”

Over the years, the pain has eased and in its place a desire to offer support and help to those going through difficult times.

Zack Makoare says, “In the past 15 years especially here in Ngāti Kahungunu there has been a huge amount of teenage suicide, one of the biggest things that I think we're not doing is that we're not being able to listen to the kids.”

Through his work with the trust they are talking to children as young as 12 and 13 about suicide prevention.

Zack says, “It means that we have to give them the skills early so when they do get into those situations of a dark place that they've got the skills to talk to somebody about it.”

Jordan Waiti of Te Taitimu Trust says, “We're trying to create some confidence and self-worth and self-identity amongst rangatahi and our strengths lie with tangaroa.”

Strengthening and supporting youth is their way of honouring the memory of their son.