Showery spring weather did not dampen the spirits of thousands of New Zealanders who took to the streets this weekend to demand stronger government action on climate change.
The protests are part of a global Peoples Climate March campaign, with 2000 events planned around the world this weekend prior to the Paris Climate Talks.
The urgent need for carbon reduction was highlighted by Tuvaluan, Fala Haulangi. She spoke with passion to the Auckland crowd saying climate change is about the survival of her island and "the very existence of my people".
An estimated 15,000 people marched in Auckland, 8000 in Wellington, and 3000 in Christchurch - the smallest being on Raoul Island, where the island's entire population of seven turned out. Auckland's march concluded with a minute's silence and a haka, appropriately laying down a challenge to world leaders to take action.
Melbourne, where the Peoples Climate March started, had over 40,000 marchers chanting in the streets. In Brisbane 5,000 people battled scorching heat to send their message.
New Zealand campaign manager Kristin Gillies was quoted as saying "The New Zealand government was going to Paris with woefully inadequate targets. They really are lagging behind the rest of the world, and in fact everyone in New Zealand. Individuals, organisations, businesses, they're taking action, but the government is dragging the chain."
Another march organiser Steve Abel told Element magazine it was "by far the biggest climate change march in New Zealand history".
The Southern Hemisphere has now set the stage for what is anticipated to be the biggest global march in history.
New York City alone is expecting close to 500,000 people. The mega march in Paris has been officially cancelled for security reasons, but many intend to ignore this due to the importance of the talks.
The scale of these marches and the global media attention will undoubtedly add pressure to the politician's attending the most significant climate change negotiations in a decade.
- Gavin Healy for Element magazine