Mental health advocate Mike King will give two talks in Northland as part of a 25-day New Zealand tour by motor scooter addressing youth suicide.

The comedian and 11 others will ride their scooters from Bluff starting on March 5 to Cape Reinga finishing on Good Friday stopping at schools and community halls along the way to talk about youth suicide.

King will address students at Kamo Intermediate School and the public at Kaikohe Memorial Hall on March 29.

He will visit 48 towns and give 70 talks during the "I am Hope" tour that will cover 4000km.


King said evidence suggested 80 per cent of youth in crisis did not ask for help because they were worried what others would think, say or do.

"I want to make people aware that our attitude is preventing people from seeking help for a small problem which becomes a major problem that eventually leads to people becoming suicidal.

"Young people today feel like nobody cares. They don't feel loved and their thoughts and opinions do not matter to adults and those things need to change," King said.

He said parents did not necessarily need to agree with what their children told them but at least they could listen.

Despite a high youth suicide rate in Northland, he said the region was no different to other parts of the country where young people did not feel valued.

King said New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the world and experts blamed it on housing, poverty, racism, gap between the rich and poor, and colonisation.
He wants to get across the point that "there is no shame in battling mental illness".

"Many people suffer from it, but something can be done about it. We can help our young people by showing them that we care, and we're there."

Kiwi artists Mr G, real name Graeme Hoete, Dick Frizzell and Otis Frizzell have painted the three campaign scooters, each depicting their own interpretations of the "I AM HOPE" message.

I AM HOPE was conceptualised as a wrist band to signal that the wearer is a safe person to talk to, to encourage young people or people struggling internally, to verbalise their struggles with somebody they feel safe with, King said.

More information on King's campaign can be found at