About 300 Myanmar demonstrators gathered at Auckland's Aotea Square on Friday calling on New Zealand to take a tougher stance against the military coup in Myanmar.
Carrying placards and banners with messages like "we strongly condemn military coup" and "stop dictatorship", most of the protesters wore red T-shirts with photos of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy initials.
Htike Wut Yi, one of the organisers, said she was worried for the safety of her mother, who was waiting to return to New Zealand but is now stuck and not contactable.
Htike was just 7 years old when she witnessed a person being shot and beheaded in front of her by the military.
Htike said social media platforms have been blocked by the military, and she has now no way to contact her mother.
"There are no words to describe how terrible life is under the military, it is worse than hell," she said.
On Monday the Myanmar military seized power, cutting short the country's transition to democracy after Suu Kyi's NLD's landslide victory in last November's general election.
Protesters called on New Zealand not to recognise the newly formed military regime, and for the Prime Minister to join its allies like Britain, Canada and the United States in condemning the coup.
Saw Thandar, who joined the protest, wants New Zealand also to demand the immediate release of Suu Kyi and other detained political leaders who remain in detention.
Another demonstrator, who did not want to be named for fear it might risk his family's safety, said he was shocked when he heard about the coup this week.
"At first I couldn't believe it, only after I managed to contact my family in Naypyidaw that I believed it," he said.
"I feel helpless over here, but I hope this protest will be one way I can air my concern and worry for my family and all other citizens back in Myanmar."
The man said he has been unable to reach his family since and was deeply worried.
"We are not just protesting, but also praying for our country. We are very worried."
The group will be taking their demonstration to the steps of Parliament in Wellington next Tuesday.