A Northland family campaigning to raise awareness against violence after one of their own died following an alleged assault have been overwhelmed with the support from around the world.
The family of Eli Holtz wanted something positive to come from the death of the Whangārei teenager and created a campaign encouraging people to make purple paper hearts to show their support for a campaign to create safer communities for families and raise awareness of the magnitude of violence in New Zealand.
Holtz, 18, died in hospital after an alleged assault at the intersection of Wellesley St West and Queen St, Auckland, in January. The former Tikipunga High School student was a passenger in a vehicle that had stopped at a red light about 3.15am. He was put on life support in Auckland City Hospital but later died.
Holtz's 19th birthday would have been on August 6.
The facebook campaign #Justiceforeli has gathered momentum and a community day - Share Your Heart - will be held on Saturday at Whangārei Town Basin from noon until 2pm.
A day later a Share Your Heart community event will be held in London which has been organised by Eli's sister Kimiora Holtz.
His older sister Chanelle Armstrong and her family are behind the campaign, and said the postie was getting very familiar with their mailbox as thousands of purple hearts made by people from around New Zealand and the world poured in.
"The response has been amazing. We thought if we got 500 people on Facebook to jump onboard that would have been a success. We got that in the first week and now people have been sending in the hearts from around the country and the world," Armstrong said.
"The hearts have come in all shapes and sizes and people have been writing beautiful personal messages on them."
She said the overwhelming response was testament to how big the violence issue was in the community and a mandate for the family to continue with raising awareness.
"It shows people want to make a difference and have these conversations, it's very humbling."
As part of the Share Your Heart day 1000 purple cupcakes will be handed out, thanks to help from Pak'nSave, and there will be speakers and musical entertainment.
There will also be information stalls from Northland District Health Board, police, Manaia Health PHO, Man Alive, Tane Ora, Arataki Ministries and Victim Support.
People can also make purple hearts which will next week be given to Northland artist Mahinaarangi Reihana-Kopa to create a piece using them.
"There is huge power in the community and whanauatanga (kinship). Our goal of the day is to gather more hearts and give the community the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.
"People need to know there are support systems in the community and know how to prevent injuries and deaths from violence which are totally unnecessary," Armstrong said.
A 30-year-old man from Bulls, who has interim name suppression and is on bail, has been charged with the manslaughter of Eli. A trial date has yet to be set.