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Shortland Street

Weeknights at 7pm | TV2

A fresh start

Hunter cradles an injured Jill - Shortland Street on TV2

As Hunter heads off to rehab in Hastings, we take a look back at his time in Ferndale.

Hunter McKay (played by Lee Donoghue) arrived in Ferndale in 2006 with his parents Justine Jones and Callum McKay and sister Sophie.

Hunter was initially devastated by the news that his parents decided to stay in New Zealand and he longed to return to Sydney to continue his modelling career.

He had a brief fling with Scarlett Valentine, before moving on to her close friend Amber. An angry Scarlett took her revenge and tried ramming him with her father's car.

In mid-2007, Hunter became smitten with 30-something Tess and the pair embarked on a steamy and secret affair. Hunter was devastated when it ended.

In order to make ends meet, Hunter embarked on a somewhat dodgy scheme selling nutritional supplements then he took on a job at the IV Bar.

Hunter finally landed a big modelling job but when he saw how the modelling industry operated, he turned his back on this career aspiration. Hunter eventually enrolled in pre-med and began working as a paramedic.

In late 2008, Hunter caught the eye of nurse Morgan Braithwaite but Hunter and Morgan's relationship eventually unravelled over her spending habits.

Hunter's home life was turned upside down when his mother, Justine Jones, was forced to fake her own death and leave New Zealand to live under witness protection in Australia.

He was briefly interested in another older woman, Brooke Freeman but Brooke had her sights set higher on Hunter's father. 

Hunter was hopeful when Justine returned to Ferndale but sadly his parents decided to go their separate ways.  Hunter's rift with Callum grew over Callum's relationship with Brooke.

Hunter focussed on trying to bust up his sister's relationship with Kieran Mitchell, but was unsuccessful.

In early 2010 he set his sights on nurse Tracey Morrison but their relationship was short-lived.

In March 2010 Hunter got stabbed in the arm with a used syringe.  After an agonising wait, he found out he was not infected with HIV.

Later that year he and ambo mate Ben Goodall were involved in a scuffle over a car and Hunter was stabbed (again) with a knife.  Ben was fatally injured in the fight and died.

Hunter moved into a flat with his mate Brodie and hospital orderly Penny Rourke.  He had a brief romance with Penny until he discovered that she was trying to kill Scotty (a twisted vendetta to avenge her own father's death).

Hunter continued to work hard, juggling med school with ambulance shifts and in 2011, he embarked on a relationship with nurse Jill Kingsbury.

He gained a place at Shortland Street for his surgical residency, but found himself up against ambitious go-getter Paige.

In order to keep up with the demanding pace, he resorted to using ADHD medication to stay focussed and alert and his relationship with Jill deteriorated under the pressure.

Mid July he discovered that his dad Callum and (then ex) girlfriend Jill were together. In a rage, he drove his car from TK and Roimata's wedding and crashed it.

After the accident, Hunter's addiction escalated and he starting using speed to help him study when he couldn't get access to ADHD pills.  Evan Cooper revealed Hunter's addiction to his friend and flatmate Daniel Potts. Hunter lied to Daniel that he was going to rehab when he actually went to Dunedin for a med school placement.

Hunter returned from Dunedin in late 2011 with a fully fledged addiction to methamphetamine and he began stealing from friends and family to fund his addiction.

His erratic behaviour drew suspicion and Jill eventually worked out that Hunter had a serious drug problem. But before she could help, Hunter had disappeared with his drug-dealing mate Bailey who convinced Hunter to help him rob a pharmacy.

The botched pharmacy robbery was the heart-wrenching climax of the 2011 Christmas cliffhanger, which saw Jill fatally injured and Daniel Potts suffer a serious head injury.

A guilty Hunter had to face up to his crimes and he was released on bail to attend rehab. 

After struggling with rehab in Ferndale, Hunter decided he has a better chance at recovery away from his father Callum, so he has departed for a rehab facility in Hastings.

Celebrating 20 years of drama on Shortland Street