20-year-old Jessica Collins is setting off on a hikoi from Raglan to Kapowairua to raise funds for Lifeline.
Collins, a student at Massey University in Palmerston North, decided to undertake her mana whenua hikoi following recent suicide statistics.
The hikoi is 668km long, the same number of lives lost through suicide in the last year.
“The kaupapa for this semester at Uni is mana whenua and what this means to you. I took the perspective that the land has the ability to give and receive strength,” Collins says in a statement.
Collins says she lost some of her own mana after an incident last year and hopes to reclaim it in the hikoi.
She says Eva Rickard, a former activist for Māori land rights and women’s rights, was her inspiration throughout the planning of the hikoi.
“This is why I am walking from Raglan to Kapowairua. This is a tribute to the way matakite were able to get their land in Raglan returned as a result of their hikoi from Kapowairua to Raglan. So, just like tupuna did hikoi to reclaim land, I am to reclaim strength.”
Along the way she'll plant kawakawa seeds and practice romiromi as a way to give and receive strength.
“I will be carrying a ko (Maori traditional gardening tool) up with me on my journey and will be planting kawakawa seeds whereever I have blessing to. I will also be practicing romiromi.”
During the hikoi Collins will mark her 21st birthday. The hikoi begins on September 25 and she has set up a givealittle page to receive funds.
If you or anyone you know are struggling, please reach out to the groups that are always there to help you:
24/7 FREE HELPLINES
Lifeline - 0800 543 354.
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757.
Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO).
Youthline - 0800 376 633 or text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com
Your local Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP).