Around 60 people gathered on Tauranga's waterfront this evening to pay tribute to slain English backpacker Grace Millane.

Labour MPs Jan Tinetti and Angie Warren-Clark both spoke at the vigil about how Millane's death reflects New Zealand's attitude towards women.

Tinetti said that dealing with the country's domestic violence problem was one way to honour Millane's memory.

"We can be honest about the violence that happens, especially towards young women... and we can stand up and do something about it."


Warren-Clark said that the country needed to care about one another more.

"We need to lose the attitude that it's okay to use violence to coerce [others]."

While Warren-Clark was proud of her daughter who had backpacked through 36 countries, she had feared for her daughter's life and was relieved that she came home safe - unlike Millane.

"She won't come home and she won't be safe."

She urged people to report any suspicious behaviour to the police and to help those who may be victims of domestic violence.

"It's so important of us to take responsibility for each other's safety."

Labout MP Angie Warren-Clark speaks at the vigil for Grace Millane. Photo / Jean Bell
Labout MP Angie Warren-Clark speaks at the vigil for Grace Millane. Photo / Jean Bell

Sue Thomson attended the vigil after feeling compelled to go in memory of her six-year-old niece, who she said was killed in 2003.

"I felt like I needed to come," she said.


Vigil organiser Courtney Bignell said she decided to organise the gathering because she felt moved by the support shown to Millane's family during this time.

"I wanted to do something to show that Tauranga is supportive as well," the 17-year-old said.

Millane had been in New Zealand for one week, as part of her year-long OE, when she was killed on the eve of her 22nd birthday in Auckland.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with her murder.

Tauranga's vigil is one of many that have been held in honour of Millane across the country.

On Thursday night, more than 60 locals gathered in Rotorua to remember the lives of Millane and other women who died in a similar way.

Another vigil is set to take place near the Mount Maunganui SurfLifesaving Club on Saturday night from 8pm.