A walk took place in Foxton on Saturday, November 28, to remember family and friends lost to suicide. The walk was organised by community group Te Ropu Korero Haumaru ki Te Awahou (Safe Talk Foxton).
Leaving from Te Waioro, the group - led by members of the Tribal Nations motorcycle club - walked to the water tower, where Terry Hapi, Navigator of the group, unveiled a commemorative plaque next to the kōwhai tree the group planted last year.
Terry said, "No one walks alone exemplifies our group Te Ropu Korero Haumaru ki Te Awahou, set up in response to a suicide prevention hui in Palmerston North. We exist to support each other. We all have our own experiences. We want to make sure this doesn't happen in future to our whānau."
A minute's silence was observed to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide. Terry emphasised that the group existed to help break down barriers and the stigma around suicide. After the unveiling, there was a free sausage sizzle, bouncy castle and free pool entry for the community.
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Te Ropu Korero Haumaru ki Te Awahou is a Foxton group for whānau and local residents who are affected in some way by friends or whānau members who have tried to or have committed suicide. They hold regular meetings and offer one-on-one support. The group was set up five years ago.
Stephen Matenga was one of the Tribal Nations members who rode ahead of the walkers. He said his motorcycle club members were keen to "ride for a cause". The club emphasis was on helping to spread awareness around suicide, violence and abuse.
The club is a back-patch non-gang group whose kaupapa (meaning) is based on F.A.I.T.H, an acronym standing for family, acceptance, integrity, trust and honesty. He said "Our truths are kotahitanga (unity) and manaakitanga (support)."
For more information about Te Ropu Korero Haumaru ki Te Awahou (Safe Talk Foxton) visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/359253531182183/announcements