The sense of community support and pride was palpable on Sunday as Glen Thurston finished 53 consecutive days hiking Corner Peak.
The enduring feat for the Turn the Corner campaign reflected the number of annual average suicide deaths within the construction industry over the past five years.
The climb was made daily by Mr Thurston from December 1.
He was joined by more than 325 people during that time — a mixture of locals and some travelling in from Christchurch and Timaru.
CKH Construction director Curtis Hogg, based in Lake Hawea, was one of them, inspired by Mr Thurston’s proactive approach to the mental health conversation.
“It’s probably something I’ve battled with in my time, hidden it in the ground and buried it, but he’s definitely opened up the conversation and got people talking about it,” Mr Hogg said.
The district would benefit from just this one conversation.
“Even on a construction site 10 years ago, it wouldn’t be talked about — now we’re talking about it.”
Mr Thurston said the reality of completing the campaign had not fully sunk in.
“I think I’ll have to sleep on it for a night to really digest it all, but it’s been pretty overwhelming, the support.”
The community had certainly jumped onboard and it had a huge impact locally.
“The conversations we’ve had on the hill have been hours and hours and hours … , it’s not just a passing comment.
‘‘Some days you start talking and don’t stop until you get off the hill.
“I couldn’t have that conversation in a cafe … The whole approach for me was there’s a lot of good people doing great things in businesses.
“My approach was to try and get from the bottom up and get on to the ground floor where it’s happening, where people are struggling.”