The message was simple - violence towards women is not okay. The reasons they marched were more diverse.

Dozens of men, women and children marched along Whanganui's main street yesterday in support of White Ribbon Day.

Hundreds more lined Victoria Ave as the parade went past, including about 30 riders on roaring motorbikes.

Dempsey Broad, from Ranana, ride leader of the White Ribbon Riders, has ridden about the country for the last week talking to schools and community groups about domestic violence.

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He's been taking part in the ride for six years.

"I think of my daughter at home. And my nieces and my beautiful wife. We need to send a message to the young fellas. One of them might get involved with my daughter ... I want that young man to have a healthy respect for her and a good attitude," Mr Broad said.

"It's not okay to be abusive - physically, socially, psychologically or verbally. We also need to let women know it's okay to ask for help too - from whoever they trust."

Greg Burtenshaw, of Whanganui, is a member of the Christain Riders and has marched in every White Ribbon parade.

His wife, now retired, used to work with Women's Refuge and he has seen first hand the fallout of domestic violence.

"We've had women hiding in our house. The worse thing that can happen to a woman is to have someone she loves beat her up."

Jigsaw trustee Dave Barton could have been a rider - his 300cc Vesper would have been a sight next to the 1600cc Harley Davidsons. He marched instead.

"I see all the stuff the social workers deal with every day. It's another way of making people think."

Marcus Fielding was another to heed the call for more men to march this year. He runs a local Kung Fu gymnasium.

"There's a popular perception that with martial arts it's all about violence. That's not what we are about. Our creed, Family, Honour, Loyalty, fits well with this message."

The parade ended at Majetsic Square where there were free sausages, speeches and a community togetherness that gladdened the heart of Tim Metcalfe, one of the organisers of this year's march. "And the rain held off."