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Raiders are fighting for young lives

DENISE PIPER
Last updated 05:00 13/11/2012
Raid Crew
STANDING TALL: Harmony Ryder, left and Eru Kapakingi are just two young soldiers in The Raid Movement, which promotes ‘Life Over Everything’.

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Whangarei Leader

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A campaign to prevent youth suicide is gaining traction in Northland and national recognition.

The Raid Movement was set up in the middle of this year by Ngati Hine Health Trust's youth leadership group.

The aim is to reach out to other youth, spread the message of Life Over Everything, and prevent youth suicide.

One leader, Eru Kapakingi, 16, says the group was compelled to start the movement after a chain of suspected youth suicides.

"It seemed like there was one coming weekly or daily, and they were so young.

"The mastermind is Phoenix Ruka, who was the manager of our youth group at the time. We all wanted to do something just because it's so hurtful seeing youth take their own lives.

"Our slogan is Life Over Everything. What we promote is for youth to just embrace life and its beauty, and to choose that over everything that might be hurting you or bringing you down."

Using avenues that youth know well, the group set up a Facebook page, which now has more than 1200 likes by people who endorse the movement. It also made a short video, inspiring young people to reach out for help.

The video, filmed in three days by Isaac Bell from Whangarei's Imagine Group, has been viewed online more than 5000 times and played in some Northland service stations.

Leader Harmony Ryder, 18, says the aim is to do school presentations next year and spread the message nationally.

"We want to have a recruitment drive. It's like an army fighting for youth."

The Raid Movement has already had television coverage and backing from comedian-turned mental health campaigner Mike King and associate health and social development minister Tariana Turia.

But Eru says the best response has been from at-risk youth.

"There have been cases where people have been at risk of suicide and they've come to us reaching out and it's prevented it."

While the group has the backing of Ngati Hine Health Trust and its trained social workers, sometimes young people are just looking for a friend to talk to, he says.

Go to theraidmovement. co.nz or search The Raid Movement on Facebook for more information.

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- Whangarei Leader

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