Cameron Smith and Monique Nees have cycled through 33 countries in just over a year.

The couple are now riding from Cape Reinga to Bluff, to raise money for suicide prevention.

"It has affected our community greatly," said Cameron. "Monique has lost cousins, family members, we've lost a lot of friends, our school has been affected. It was an obvious choice really, to build awareness around the subject. When we were growing up, it wasn't really a subject you."

The couple met at high school in Otago and have been together for over a decade.

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"I'm 26 and Cameron is 28, so we've been together for a wee while - longer than a death sentence I think..." teased Monique. "We actually hadn't lived together until we moved to London. And since then, we've spent the last 15 months together, in a tent, so that's been fun."

Surprisingly, their only cycling experience was riding to work in London. Their ambitious trek will raise money for suicide prevention, a cause the couple have a deep connection to.

"It hurts... a lot," admitted Monique. "You hurt for everyone else affected. I am the oldest of seven children and my little brother was maybe seven when he first saw it - you just want to wrap everyone up and take care of everybody. It's hard."

The couple have partnered with Dunedin-based Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust to raise the profile of mental health struggles in New Zealand.

"It's not just one thing; it never is when it comes to mental health. There are different environmental factors and then you've also got the individual differences. What might set me off, won't set Cam off, you always have to take that into consideration."

They call themselves the Kiwi Bums and cycle an average of 80-100kms each day.

On the road south, the couple want to meet local schoolkids and share their message, before settling at home in Alexandra for Christmas.

"I think routine will be nice for a wee while," said Monique. "But there is definitely another trip planned for the future. It just depends how long it takes us to save and get going again!"

Check out Kiwi Bums on Bikes on Facebook, or at www.kiwibumsonbikes.com.

You can make a donation to their Givealittle page at
https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/kiwibums.

Where to get help

- In an emergency: Call 111
- Crisis, Assessment and Treatment Team at Lakes DHB: 0800 166 167
- Lifeline: 0800 543 354
- Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865
- Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 or talk@youthline.co.nz or live chat (7-11pm).
- Kidsline: 0800 543 754
- Whatsup: 0800 942 8787
- Depression helpline: 0800 111 757
- Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)
- NetSafe: 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)

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