A walk to raise awareness about suicide prevention was attended by hundreds - many touched by suicide in some way.

The weather was cold and wet on Sunday but that did not stop 200 people from coming together for HopeWalk Whangarei - a walk around the Hatea Loop to break the stigma around suicide.

Sarah Ritchie-Warren organised the Whangarei walk, which started at the Canopy Bridge, so people knew they were not alone in their time of need, and so families who had lost loved ones to suicide could share memories.

"The feedback from people said that it was amazing. It went really well.


"I think everybody appreciated there was somebody out there making a difference, bringing it out there. People said thank you so much for this event."

HopeWalks are held around New Zealand and Australia and were started by Auckland pastor Joseph Fa'afiu in 2015 as a way of breaking the stigma around suicide.

The Whangarei event began with entertainment at 6pm - including performances from Remininse Soul and Kamo High School's kapa haka group, and was followed by a walk around the Hatea Loop at 7pm, and a light ceremony about 8pm.

"One of the students from Kamo High School spoke. She lost her father and her speech was so powerful and moving. It was absolutely amazing. It was a very effective night."

Ms Ritchie-Warren said people young and old joined the walk led by Kamo High School students and the Northern Pipe Band.

"The mood was awesome. A young guy brought cards with 'free hugs' that he'd made up and we handed them out and a lot of people were like 'I need a hug' so I went around hugging people and it was so nice."

Ms Ritchie-Warren said she would like to hold another HopeWalk in Whangarei, this time in summer.