The Trust supporting the family of Grace Millane have thanked New Zealand and its people, saying it's never seen an outpouring of "support and sympathy" like it.

Millane went missing at the start of this month and was later found dead in the Waitakere Ranges by Auckland police investigating her disappearance.

A vigil was hosted on Federal St in central Auckland tonight, where thousands of people gathered to pay tribute to Millane.

The Lucie Blackman Trust has supported the Millane family during the ordeal and its chief executive, Matt Searle, thanked New Zealand.

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"Not once have I seen such an outpouring of support and sympathy," Searle said in a statement read on his behalf tonight.

"Right from the start when we asked for help with the appeal you did all you could for us and for Grace.

"You should be proud of the way you have all selflessly supported Grace's family and our charity."

Members of the public pay their respects during a vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square in Wellington. Photo / Getty Images
Members of the public pay their respects during a vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square in Wellington. Photo / Getty Images

Vigils were held to remember Millane throughout the country tonight, two in Auckland and elsewhere in Dunedin, Wellington and Napier.

But they weren't just for remembering Millane, instead, the lives of all women lost to violence in New Zealand were remembered as well.

There was a mix of men and women, of different ages and different cultures, all coming together to recognise the issue of violence towards women in New Zealand.

Many of them held candles and many cried during the event as a range of different speakers addressed them.

Among those to speak was Mark Longley, the father of murdered Kiwi woman Emily Longley who died seven years ago in England.

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The crowd fell silent as he walked up to the microphone and addressed the crowd, particularly taking aim at the men of New Zealand.

A very large crowd gathers in at the candlelit vigil held on Federal Street. Photo / Peter Meecham
A very large crowd gathers in at the candlelit vigil held on Federal Street. Photo / Peter Meecham

He called for those who claimed they are not part of shocking statistics of men attacking and abusing women to step forward and to "be a part of the solution".

Kiwi songstress Lizzie Marvelly capped off the evening with a heartfelt rendition of Amazing Grace in honour of Millane.

Marvelly said it was breathtaking having the crowd joining her in paying tribute to the 22-year-old in song.

"It feels devastating in some ways that we have to be remembering her tonight, when she should be in our beautiful country having an amazing adventure," she said.

"It also felt healing in a way and I felt like really came together - when I was singing I could hear people singing with me which was a really special moment."

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff also attended the vigil, speaking to a smaller crowd of around 300 in Saint Patrick's Square before the second event.

"We need to change our culture. We need to change the way too many men act towards their partners and their children," he said.

"Tonight our hearts go out to the Millane family. She should have been safe here but she wasn't."

Every four and a half minutes an incident of family violence was reported to the police, he said.

"That's 325 acts of violence, largely against women each day and that's not good enough - we need to change our culture, we have to change our behaviour."

Tears flow at the candlelit vigil held at St Patricks Square in Auckland. Photo / Peter Meecham
Tears flow at the candlelit vigil held at St Patricks Square in Auckland. Photo / Peter Meecham

Millane's father, David, earlier said the family would not be attending the vigils but today thanked the police and the people of New Zealand for their "outpouring of love".

"From that very first moment we have been astounded by the level of concern, sympathy and selfless help from every person we have met," he said via the police.

"Finally we would like to thank the people of New Zealand for their outpouring of love, numerous messages, tributes and compassion.

"Grace was not born here and only managed to stay a few weeks, but you have taken her to your hearts and in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi."

In Dunedin, co-organiser of tonight's event, Izzy Lomax-Sawyers, said the death had shocked and saddened people.

"I think a lot of people have felt a lot of shock and shame about this happening in New Zealand," she said.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said he felt a sense of shame over what had happened to Millane.

Candles and flowers from members of the public surround a photo of Grace Millane in Wellington. Photo / Getty Images
Candles and flowers from members of the public surround a photo of Grace Millane in Wellington. Photo / Getty Images

Meanwhile, in Wellington Greens co-leader Marama Davidson said gender violence had been a long-standing issue in Aotearoa.

She said since the strangulation charge was added to law on December 3 there had been 36 of the charges laid by police.

"That's an indication of the work we have to do to clean up our own act."

Elsewhere in Hawke's Bay, dozens of people gathered at Clive Square in Napier before walking up Emerson St to pay their respects.

Rob Burden from Havelock North said 11 people had been killed in the past few days and it was time to take a stand against violence.

"I travelled over to Australia when I was 18 and I felt safe, people should be able to feel safe wherever they go.

"I also think the parents of Grace should be able to see a lot of us get to gather to let them know we do care."