Kaitaia has seen four homicides and six suicides in a single year.
Now the locals are trying to save their community.
Ringed by golden beaches and temperate Pacific seas Kaitaia is unconscionably pretty – dotted with flaming red pohutukawa trees and blessed by year-round blue skies.
The town of 5,000 people on the northern tip of New Zealand’s North Island should be known as a holiday resort but instead it has been dubbed the murder capital of New Zealand after four homicides and six suicides in a single year.
Kaitaia is the last major stop on state highway one in the far north; 300km from Auckland or a $150 plane ticket out.
Half the town earn less than NZ$20,000 a year and 60% are Maori – with unemployment at more than double the national average.
While it is pretty the town is also remote – poor and increasingly stigmatised as the place dreams go to die.