Christchurch youth worker and motivational rapper Hunter ‘‘KingCass’’ Wilson took his Clutha audience on an audiovisual journey through the highs and lows of his struggles and recovery, last Saturday.
‘‘The situation I was in, the way I was, the institutional systems were there but really not working for me.
‘‘But when I was in my darkest place, suicidal — in the ward with meth-induced psychosis — something happened and I started [to] find and focus on the fragments of positivity and hope in my thoughts and build on them — and that was the light at the end of the tunnel.
‘‘And that was the start of the KingCass movement — to organise the concepts that worked for me and bring it to others and hopefully help them too,’’ Mr Wilson said.
Awakening from Dark to Light is a 90-minute audiovisual presentation combining PowerPoint projections of his family, childhood and self-help diagrams with short documentaries and original songs.
He stepped back in time to describe how his intense ADHD alienated him during his school days and led to self-destructive thrill-seeking. ‘‘For a long time I was the guy in the circle who always refused the pipe, but it got me in the end.’’
Meth addiction led to a climactic, four-month psychosis including hallucinations, paranoia and a mental and physical search for impossible sources of redemption.
KingCass said when he got clean he understood family, community and pursuing his dream were his new path.
His ‘‘KingCass Movement’’ began in 2017, leading to the repair or replacement of relationships, studio recording, qualification as a youth worker, and gigs and engagements throughout New Zealand and in Australia.
On every seat in Coronation Hall was an audience feedback form — KingCass asks everyone he encounters to ‘‘keep him real’’. Plenty of audience members — some from as far away as Invercargill — found his style reached them and resonated.
Among them was Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, who praised KingCass’s efforts.
Clutha District Youth Council facilitator Jean Proctor said she had been following KingCass for a few years now and had seen him evolve and grow.
‘‘He’s kept working hard.
‘‘It was great to finally get him here and to see and hear his passion for addressing what are some genuine issues in our district as much as anywhere.’’
After the presentation, a panel formed on stage to encourage audience feedback and answer questions.
‘‘Hold on, pain ends — that’s what ‘hope’ stands for,’’ KingCass said.
‘‘When I understood that, I had to think about how I was going to move forward into the future and that crystallised into another big slogan for the movement.
‘‘Every day my journey is still new, but if what I learned can help others then I’m achieving my own passion, potential and purpose.’’