More than 60 men, woman and children remembered the life of Grace Millane and many other lives taken at a candlelit vigil.

The emotional crowd were brought together at the base of the Te Manawa Christmas Tree last night and joined many vigils across the country for British backpacker Grace Millane.

Millane was murdered on the weekend of her 22nd birthday, just a day after she arrived in Auckland as part of a one-year solo OE.

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

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Before her body was found her father David and his brother travelled to New Zealand.

They have been working alongside police to help with the investigation into her death.

Millane's body was released back to her father today and he will return to Essex with her this weekend.

Members of the community comforting each other at the vigil. Photo / Ben Fraser
Members of the community comforting each other at the vigil. Photo / Ben Fraser

The Rotorua "Vigil for Grace" was organised by the Rotorua Zonta club, an international organisation that works to empower women through service and advocacy.

Event organiser Sierra De La Croix said she created the event after witnessing the grief the whole country was in.

"There are vigils that are happening throughout New Zealand right now, promoted by our country's grief and shame for the murder of Grace Millane.

"But we honour all women who have been murdered by men in Rotorua and New Zealand."

De La Croix said domestic violence was something New Zealand had struggled with for a long time.

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Two women have been murdered in Rotorua this year and De La Croix wanted to ensure their memories were not lost by remembering them tonight.

Vigil for Grace Millane and victims of domestic violence in Te Manawa in Rotorua tonight. 12 December 2018 Rotorua Daily Post Photograph by Ben fraser
Vigil for Grace Millane and victims of domestic violence in Te Manawa in Rotorua tonight. 12 December 2018 Rotorua Daily Post Photograph by Ben fraser

She said Zonta wanted to create a space where the community could come together and share grief and hurt.

"We grieve for all of them. For all of their lives cut short.

"We stand together to send our sympathies to their families. And we stand together to say no to violence against women."

Vigil for Grace Millane and victims of domestic violence in Te Manawa.

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Members of the community who attended shared one word that acknowledged why they were there which was closed with a karakia.

The Māori hymn He honore was sung by the crowd before other members of the community had the chance to share their thoughts.

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Friends Alice Whitaker and Nicola Bennett had been touched by recent events and knew they had to attend.

Bennett said it was a special event to be apart of and felt disappointed that travellers could not feel like they were safe in New Zealand.

"I think it is really special for the [Millane] family to see so many New Zealanders coming out and going, 'we support you and God we feel for you'."

More than 60 people attended the vigil this evening. Photo / Ben Fraser
More than 60 people attended the vigil this evening. Photo / Ben Fraser

Grandmother Cynthia Hawkins wanted to show her support to Grace and everybody else who had been affected by domestic violence.

She felt it was important to take a stand for women being a grandmother and a mother of four daughters.

"It is so sad, it didn't have to happen.

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"How sad is it for her parents, I am sure they would've given a million dollars to have her back."