A mother who lost her son to P addiction.

A former addict who started taking crack when she was just 14 and broke all ties in hope for a new beginning.

A grandmother who fought to help whanau who were all addicted to P for 22 years.

All were among the hundreds who marched in unison in the pouring rain down Victoria Ave yesterday for Whanganui's first ever campaign against methamphetamine.


Local leaders Donna Lawrence and Roy Ranginui brought the New Zealand P Pull group to Whanganui to help raise awareness and prevention against what they say is "the evillest drug in the world".

Donna Lawrence leads the march chanting
Donna Lawrence leads the march chanting "say no to meth". Photo/ Stuart Munro

Children carrying banners that read "don't meth up our future" and chants yelling "say no to meth" made noise that got people out of the shops and cheering in support.

Starting at Rebel Sport the group marched down Victoria Ave to Majestic Square for a public forum where 12 people shared their own personal stories with the drug.

Whanganui children carry banners
Whanganui children carry banners "don't meth up our future. Photo/ Sturart Munro

Former Whanganui resident, Riana Potaka, spoke in public for the first time about her addiction to P.

"I started using meth when I was 14 years old and about two years ago when I was living in Whanganui I decided I needed to stop for the sake of my kids... they were missing out.

"I was reaching out but no one was helping so I ended moving to Auckland. All my whanau were using so I had to make new whanau... I've been clean for 15 months," Rhianna said.

Christine Kaumoana from Auckland told the crowd that for 22 years meth destroyed her family.

"My own children were using and for eight years I fought with them trying to get them to stop.

"It wasn't working so I decided to educate myself... I showed them loved from a distance," Ms Kaumoana said.

She said she used to have 10 family members hooked on P and now she had two.

"It's not easy but prevention and awareness... it works. At our table there is no judgement... make noise for your people," Ms Kaumoana said.

Linda Sheldon from Wellington shared how she discovered her son was addicted to meth a year ago.

"His addiction became my obsession. I want to give a shout out for all the mums... it's really important you look after yourself... eventually they will put up their hands for help," Ms Sheldon said.

She said is was important to educate ourselves to find out what that pull was, not just for the addicts but the whanau too.

"Let's get rid of the evil demon," Ms Sheldon pleaded.

New Zealand 'P' Pull rally support marching down Victoria Ave for Whanganui's first ever campaign against P. Photo/ Stuart Munro
New Zealand 'P' Pull rally support marching down Victoria Ave for Whanganui's first ever campaign against P. Photo/ Stuart Munro

Ms Lawrence said they were lobbying for two things, a detox centre in Whanganui and more education for young people.

Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall was there to show his support.

Mr McDouall said he knew a mother in Gonville whose husband watched as she slowly declined.

One morning she disappeared. "She returned two hours later... she'd gone to buy a fix and that's not ok."

New Zealand P Pull leader Dennis Makalio took his hat off to Mr McDouall and the people who turned up to show their support.

"You have a mayor that will support you and I take my hat off to him... if you talk to a lot of addicts if they had education and prevention in the first place they wouldn't have taken the stuff in the first place... make your mayor work for his mana," Mr Makalio said.

Mr McDouall agreed, saying: "I would rather a million drops of rain than a few drops of P any day."