"What we need is change. When do we need it; now!"

That's the chant from hundreds of mainly schoolchildren marching through Whangārei today as part of the global schools strike to battle climate change.

Well over 500 protesters are marching through the city after students from Boys' and Girls' high schools have merged with a group of protesters at Cameron Mall.

They then went in front of the Northland Regional Council building, in Water St, demanding that regional council declares a climate emergency. Whangārei District Council has already declared a climate emergency.

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The marchers were getting toots of support and calls backing them as they marched through city streets.

Marches are also being held today in Kerikeri and Kaitaia along with dozens of other centres around the country.

Northland's youth have joined the global strike to battle climate change.

Young activists in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas took their outrage over lacking action to combat emissions to the streets last week in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

Greta Thunberg, who has long become the face of youth climate activism, spoke before the UN on Monday saying leaders would no longer get away with this.

"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here," Thunberg said. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.

In support of Thunberg and the worldwide demonstrations New Zealand movement School Strike 4 Climate mobilises students across the nation to join protests for a third time.

Whangārei climate activist Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn said the urgency of the situation hasn't settled in people's hearts yet because they are disconnected from society and nature.

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"We see in young leaders around the world, that this generation is starting to appreciate what's happening more and more," Murupaenga-Ikenn said.

However, the message had to reach everyone so that people stop looking at the problem and start acting.