It was the sound of rolling thunder but it was also the sound of peace.

The White Ribbon motorcycle riders certainly made their presence heard when they approached the Sound Shell in Napier yesterday morning but then making a statement, making a stand, is what it is all about.

As riders' spokesman Takurua Tawera from the Te Ahi Kikoha anti-violence group said as he touched on the subject behind the ride - calling a halt to violence against women.

"Never commit, condone or remain silent," he said, and at the conclusion of yesterday's gathering, which drew about 120 people, a number of men signed the "pledge" against violence.

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Fourteen large motorcycles, mainly booming Harley-Davidsons, many also bearing passengers, rumbled into the area and lined up in front of the stage.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton cut straight to the point.

"Violence by men against women is utterly unacceptable - there are no grey areas here."

Mr Dalton said events like the White Ribbon Ride were valuable in raising awareness across communities that violence against women had to be stopped.

"Men need to stop and think and realise there is always an alternative to violence - physical as well as mental," Mr Dalton said.

Hawke's Bay Police Inspector Andy Sloane said violence against women was generational affecting wives and mothers, and ultimately children.

"We need to make some generational changes and the community has an important role to play."

Mr Tawera said several of those involved had come from backgrounds of violence and had come together "to find a way we can contribute" in helping prevent it.

The riders had earlier visited Flaxmere College as part of their White Ribbon Ride which had set off from Palmerston North last Friday and which will eventually end in Whanganui.

President of the Mongrel Mob Hastings chapter Rex Timu was one of the bikers that roared into the school pledging to do whatever he could to stop family violence.

Mr Timu, who is also employed as project manager and whanau development manager for nationwide change trust Waka Moemoea, said he was committed to White Ribbon's anti-violence message.

"I'm spreading the word out to my members, even around New Zealand, to stop the violence," he said, also extending his concern to such other issues as suicide.

"I'm passionate because I see a lot of our people being hurt," he said.

"I'm in a position where I can make changes.

"There are some people like myself, Mob leaders, Black Power leaders, around the motu, who want change.

"It's not easy," he said as he called on the audience of more than 160 teenagers to help.