Hundreds turn out in Dunedin for Grace Millane vigil

People gather in the Octagon in central Dunedin on Wednesday evening to remember slain English...
People gather in the Octagon in central Dunedin on Wednesday evening to remember slain English tourist Grace Millane. Photos: Gregor Richardson
Tearful mourners attend the vigil.
Tearful mourners attend the vigil.
The vigil was one of several around the country on Wednesday night.
The vigil was one of several around the country on Wednesday night.

Hundreds of people have turned out in the Octagon in Dunedin this evening for a vigil for slain English tourist Grace Millane.

The vigil is one of several around the country this evening for the Englishwoman, who was murdered on the weekend of her 22nd birthday, just a day after she arrived in Auckland as part of a one-year solo OE.

An estimated 300 or more people gathered in the Octagon to pay their respects.

A co-organiser of tonight's event, Izzy Lomax-Sawyers, said the death had shocked and saddened people.

"I think a lot of people have felt a lot of shock and shame about this happening in  New Zealand."

She said she was pleased at the "great showing" and said "some really  important messages" had been communicated by a series of speakers, including Mayor Dave Cull, during the gathering.

The event had also helped her to "process the grief" and anger she and other people had been feeling about Grace's death, she said.

Mr Cull and Dunedin City Councillor Aaron Hawkins were among the speakers to address the crowd. Mr Cull said he felt a sense of shame over what had happened to Ms Millane.

Near the area where the speakers gathered, candles also shone at an impromptu shrine bearing photographs of Grace. 

Flowers were also placed nearby and among notes were the messages "Fly Free Angels" and "Love and Light."

Grace was last seen going into a central Auckland hotel the night of December 1.

A 26-year-old man she went to the hotel with has been charged with murder and appeared in the Auckland District Court on Monday.

The vigils tonight follow one on the Wakatipu lakefront in Queenstown last night. 

In Auckland this evening, hundreds of people sang a heartfelt rendition of Amazing Grace at a vigil in the city.

Kiwi songstress Lizzie Marvelly led the crowd gathered on Federal St to remember the tourist who went missing and whose body was later found in the Waitakere Ranges.

A large crowd turned out for the Auckland vigil. Photo: NZ Herald
A large crowd turned out for the Auckland vigil. Photo: NZ Herald
Hundreds of candles were held in the air as she sang.

Over 1000 people turned out to pay tribute.

A spokesperson for the Lucie Blackwell Trust told the crowd he’d seen hundreds of cases like this but nothing like the outpouring of support Kiwis had shown.

The crowd then fell silent as Mark Longley, father of murdered Kiwi Emily Longley, addressed them, calling for a change in the country’s culture towards women.

He called for those who said they were not part of the problem to “be a part of the solution”.

Raindrops started to fall as Longley talked about seeing his daughter and trying to wake her up after she was murdered.

Many of those in the crowd wiped tears from their faces as the light rain continued.

 - additional reporting NZME

Comments

In the wake of this tragedy, 'Man's World' is less hegemonic than it was.

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