A sea of people dressed in yellow trekked along Rotorua's lakefront today, all with one thing in common: they are connected by suicide.

More than 100 people participated in today's second annual Rotorua HopeWalk which aims to raise awareness of suicide.

One of the organisers, Thomas O' Leary, said those there had one thing in common.

"We've all been touched in some way by suicide of a loved one, a close family friend, or a family member.


"Some have experienced suicidal tendencies or been through depression so it's very personal."

O'Leary said suicide was prevalent and the walk was about telling people it was okay to not be okay.

More than 100 people walked along Rotorua's lakefront for the second annual HopeWalk. Photo / Ben Fraser
More than 100 people walked along Rotorua's lakefront for the second annual HopeWalk. Photo / Ben Fraser

"Hope is an acronym for Hold On, Pain Ends.

"It's really about saying we're all here to support each other."

He said even if one life was saved, the walk would have been worth it.

Couple Jackie and Greg Hargreaves were among those walking.

Their son committed suicide a year ago on October 2 and they were there to remember him.

"He'd been suffering for a while then things were starting to look up. He had new job, a new house, a company car. He had it together and we later found out that's the time to watch for," Greg said.


"It's raising awareness. Maybe more people will be willing to speak. It's such a taboo subject for a lot of people."

He said the suicide statistics were simply too high.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick spoke before the walk of her sister who committed suicide three years ago.

"It affects everybody in all walks of life," she said.

"We have shown by turning up today that as a community we have heart and we have hope.

"Hope says a lot ... the pain does end."

New Zealand First deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau was also there and said he had a work friend who had committed suicide.

"What we're doing today as a community what we're doing today as friends, what we do today as whanau is so important. We need to celebrate the ability to have those conversations."

The HopeWalk was lead by motorcyclists from a group called RATS, Riders Against Teen Suicide.

Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.