More than 100 cars dressed in yellow drove around the region on Saturday to raise awareness for suicide.

Car enthusiasts from Whakatāne, Tauranga and Rotorua wanted to "cruise" for a purpose instead of having a normal meet.

Owner of the Facebook page Vegas Chills and Meets DJ Cooper-Stephens saw events popping up around the country and wanted to get Rotorua involved.

He said he contacted the facilitator of the Whakatane cruise and offered to host them on their journey around the region.


"This time of the year we all get together and have a good meet.

"So we thought we might as well do it for a good cause."

It is the first time Rotorua has participated in a cruise to raise suicide awareness but the group have a similar initiative for cancer which happens once a year.

With their cars dressed in yellow, the colour of support for suicide, the group met in the Kmart carpark and drove to Lake Tarawera to meet the other group from Whakatane.

Cooper-Stephens went to a discount store and found some coloured hair spray that wouldn't wreck the paint and washed off.

He said suicide was something that had affected him and he hated it. He wanted to become involved to lift the stigma and make people know everyone cared.

"There are people who care, not just one or two people in the world.

"It [suicide] sort of gets hidden really, not a lot of people think about it or do anything about it."


He said the cruise was another way the group could get together without people thinking they were causing trouble.

"It shows everyone that we don't just care about our cars."

He believed people had the wrong idea about them and made assumptions when they saw their cars.

"They see a Subaru for example and they think 'oh he is just a boy racer, out there to cause trouble'.

"But he is not. He has spent thousands of dollars making his car look good, rather than going out and breaking into a shop."

Cooper-Stephens acknowledged not everyone with a fast car was well-mannered and those people who drove fast were "idiots".

"That's why we have track days, so we can go hard and fast on the track." he said.

"We're just out here to show off our cars, have a laugh and meet new people."

The Facebook event had over 1000 people interested.

The group planned to let go of yellow balloons to remember those who had been taken by suicide.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (24/7)
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (24/7)
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email