Participants in a hikoi calling for an end to sexual violence admit walking won't solve the problem but they say it's another step in getting people to speak out.
Fifty people walked around Kaikohe on Sunday in support of Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis' bid to walk seven marathons in seven days, a gruelling, 294-kilometre follow-up to his Auckland-Cape Reinga hikoi last year.
While Mr Davis was pounding the road between Kaitaia and Awanui, the Kaikohe group walked from Broadway to Reservoir Rd, Northland College and Orrs Rd. They plan to repeat the 6km hikoi every day for a week.
Mr Davis and his group of five walked from the school into Kaitaia, then completed three laps of the town before returning to the school. They plan to walk 42km, equivalent to a marathon, every day this week until and including Saturday.
And the MP reiterated that anyone who would like to join him would be welcome, whether they walk, skateboard, cycle or scoot.
Kaikohe event organiser Mike Shaw said sexual abuse was a big issue, and it was easy for individuals to feel overwhelmed or feel powerless to stop it. However, if people worked together they could make a difference, just like he wouldn't walk a marathon on Sunday but collectively everyone on the hikoi would walk a great deal more.
Mr Shaw said the hikoi wouldn't change things on its own but it would help raise awareness.
"Walking around town is the easy part, the hard part starts later. This creates the opportunity for conversations to begin and gives people confidence to speak out. We had a number of disclosures about abuse to an 0800 number we set up for the last event because young people felt confident enough to say what had been going on," he said.
"We're sending a signal that things must change. Half the battle is getting it out of the dark into the light so it can be addressed."
Among those taking part on Sunday was Okaihau anti-violence campaigner Karen Edwards, whose daughter, Ashlee, was killed by her partner in Whangarei four years ago.
She took part in Mr Davis' hikoi last year when it passed Okaihau.
"People will wonder what we're doing, they'll ask questions and it will get them talking. They might be affected themselves or know someone who is. They need to know they have a right to speak out and the perpetrators need to stop."