The story of Grace Millane's death has devastated, angered and broken New Zealanders. The 22-year-old British backpacker went missing while travelling in New Zealand, and a body, believed to be hers, was later found in the dense bush of the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland. A 26-year-old man, with whom Millane was last seen alive, appeared in court on Monday charged with her murder. Now, Police are appealing for information about a shovel they believe to be involved.
The case has received wall-to-wall coverage across the country. Newsfeeds, papers, radio and TV bulletins have been flooded with every possible angle as the horror of what happened in our own backyard unfolds. Kiwis are hanging onto every detail, assisting with the investigation and sharing their grief.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fought back tears as she apologised to Millane’s family on behalf of New Zealand. Ardern summed up how Kiwis feel about the young backpacker's death, and that it happened here, in a couple of words: “hurt and shame”.
"I cannot imagine the grief of her family and what they would be experiencing and feeling right now," she said. "From the Kiwis I have spoken to, there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality, on our manaakitanga, especially to those who are visiting our shores.”
"Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn't, and I'm sorry for that," she said on the verge of tears.
Auckland’s Sky Tower will be lit up in “dynamic white” until Thursday night. The Vector Lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge will also shine white on Wednesday evening in a gesture of support and solidarity for those who are grieving.
Vigils across the country have also been put together to allow New Zealanders to band together and show compassion and support for Grace and her family, as well as for other women who have had their lives cut short by violence.
Tuesday, December 11:
There is a vigil in Queenstown being held in the front of The Boatshed Cafe at 7PM.
Wednesday, December 12:
In Auckland, a candlelight vigil is being held at 7PM starting on Federal Street. White Ribbon has also organised a Vigil For Grace at St Patrick’s Square (also on Federal Street) on the same evening, from 6PM. In Wellington, there is a candlelight vigil at 7PM in Civic Square. In Nelson, there is a vigil organised for 7PM in 1903 Square. And in Christchurch a vigil will be held at Cathedral Square, from 7-8PM. In Dunedin, one is being held in the lower Octagon from 7-8PM.
On Saturday, December 15:
A Walk for Grace is being arranged in Auckland City at midday.
If you are in search of other ways to channel your sadness and frustration into something more productive than comments wars, The Spinoff has put together these thoughtful recommendations.