Communities across New Zealand were united atop of hills and mountains as a beacon of light for hope in the ‘Lights for Lives’ event on Saturday, 3 September.
FLO Talanoa facilitator and Hope Walk organiser Joseph Fa’afiu said the message is simple, and that the power is in our hands.
Our plan was to gather as many people on every major mountain/hill peak at 5am. Each person was to bring their phone, torch, head lamp etc with them to use as a light (instead of candles or any other flammable light source). We will shine "lights" for "lives" for loved ones who we have lost to suicide and for those who are struggling with mental illness - reminding them that they are not alone’.
The initiative went viral via social media, and groups from Mangere Mountain in Auckland to the Port Hills in Christchurch joined the cause. Torches and cell phones shone all over the country from 5am to 5:30am to remember approximately 500 lives are lost to suicide each year in New Zealand, symbolising there is light even in the darkest places.
KIWI DADDYS, a group of Auckland men aspiring to assist and make a change for the better, lit up Mangere Mountain for the event followed by a breakfast and an invite to a boot camp session for all hope walkers.
As KIWI DADDYS, we need to take ownership of this issue and do our part in not only making our communities more aware of suicide but also be a beacon of hope, life and light for the Souls who are in need of support, encouragement and guidance. We believe that the Lights for Lives Hope Walk is a walk of unity, love and ultimately hope. To remember those taken by suicide by supporting those who are currently struggling.”
Suicide is a complex issue and we encourage you to visit our FLO Knowledge Bank for more information on suicide prevention.
If you need someone to talk to, please see the numbers below for help.
Scenes from Saturday's Light for Lives event.