In the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, the nation heard countless stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things.
Daring rescues, when people were plucked from rooftops as floodwaters threatened. Taking in strangers with nowhere else to go for days, weeks or months. Shovelling silt, fixing up homes, cooking kai. Seeing Hawke's Bay through the toughest of times.
Ahead of this week's anniversary, hundreds of those ordinary people were invited by local councils to the Tomoana Showgrounds in Hastings on Sunday for an Appreciation Day.
Dignitaries - including the mayors of Hastings and Napier, the regional council chair, emergency management minister Mark Mitchell and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon - heaped praise on them all.
"Last year we saw some real challenges in this region," Luxon told the crowd. "But man, we saw the very, very best of New Zealand as well, and that's what we're here to celebrate and to recognise today."
Over a sausage and a beer, attendees reflected on the day that was, and the year that's been since.
The rescue helicopter pilot
When the floodwaters hit, Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust chief pilot Charlie Beetham co-ordinated the "major undertaking" of helicopter rescues for days following the cyclone.
"There were a lot of good stories ... we saw the best in humanity," said Beetham.
The Army sergeant
The NZ Army was out in force from day one. Sergeant Andrew McCrory and his team were "straight into Esk Valley... we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into there" - then moved throughout the region clearing houses and cars.
"The best thing that came out of the cyclone was just the communities getting together. And it's still happening now, a year on."
The mental health workers
Pesio Ah-Honi and Joyce Ah Kiong from Pacific mental health organisation Mapu Maia provided support for those struggling following Cyclone Gabrielle.
"Coming here today and seeing everyone together just brings so much joy," said Ah Kiong.
The community stalwart
When the rural community of Maraekākaho was cut off, Jonathan Stockley spearheaded a team to open the village hall as an emergency hub and information centre.
"It's really quite moving to think about how people rose to the colossal challenges that they were faced with. And we got through it because of the way people worked together," said Stockley.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise told the gathered crowd: "One year ago, many of us wouldn't have truly known what we were capable of. We would not have known the capacity of our inner strength, the ability to keep going, to think clearly under pressure, to be there for others when we ourselves were struggling. To go above and beyond, to do everything we could to help a friend, to help a stranger ... together, we moved mountains."
Speaking at the event, Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said: "One year on, we reflect on our amazing volunteers, each and everyone of you, and all of our other people, whose courage, selflessness, kindness, generosity, and tireless, hard, hard work helped us get through."