Bikers doing their bit for local teens

By Abi Thomas


Kahui Neho can't put into words how she felt reading that Northland's suicide statistics were the worst in the country, except that she knew she had to do something about it.

So the former Northlander got in touch with the Super Maori Fullas, who help promote action against domestic violence with the annual White Ribbon Ride.

They have jumped on their bikes for the cause and are in Northland this weekend on the Green Ribbon Ride, as RATS - Riders Against Teenage Suicide.

Ms Neho said Northland has had the highest teenage suicide rates in the country, and the numbers of young people choosing to take their own lives was shocking.

"We can't change the stats, but it's time somebody stood up and did something to show people 'It's not okay to go that way'."

Ms Neho wants phone numbers for helplines and information sources to be as accessible and recognised as other well-known phone numbers.

"I was up north recently and I asked the rangatahi 'Do you know the 0508 number for Lifeline? No. Do you know about the RAID movement? No. Do you know the 0800 number for Pizza Hutt? Yep'."

The ride will culminate in a family day on Saturday at The Pulse in Raumanga, where iwi organisations and service providers will provide information and advice about where people can go for help.

"You can go to how many hui and how many conferences but nothing makes a difference unless you get in there on the ground level," Ms Neho said.

"If our campaign can show just one teenager or one whanau that it's not okay to go that way, then it'll be worth it."

Riders are welcome to join the Super Maori Fullas at any point on their journey into Whangarei. They will gather at the service station on State Highway 1 at Ruakaka at 8.30am, before leaving for the Tarewa Rd information centre at 9am. At 9.50am they will leave for The Pulse on Raumanga Valley Rd, for a powhiri beginning at 10am. The family day starts at 11am.

Where to go for help

  • If you, or someone you know is feeling down, depressed or is contemplating suicide, here's where to go to for help:

  • Northland District Health Board mental health services: Whangarei: 430 4101, general adult services extension 3501; Maori health ext 3537; elderly care ext 8408 and child and youth ext 8320. Kaitaia: (09) 408 8658, ext 4720. Hokianga, Kaikohe and Kawakawa: 0800 222 449, ext 5871. Dargaville: (09) 439 7149, ext 6701.

  • After-hours mental health line: 0800 223 371.

  • Suicide Prevention Information NZ (SPINZ):

  • The Raid Movement, Northland teenagers tackling youth suicide: and on Facebook

  • Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or

  • Youthline: 0800 376 633.

  • 0800 NO BULLY: 0800 662 855.

  • Relationship Services: (09) 437 0712.

  • Budgeting Services: (09) 433 8313.

  • Lifeline: (09) 437 5055.

  • THE LOWDOWN: txt: 5626.

  • Women's Refuge: (09) 437 2127.

  • Supporting Families: (09) 430 3844.

  • Consumer Network: (09) 438 2423.

  • Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education and Research (CASPER):

- Northern Advocate

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