Aucklanders invited to join world record haka for Gumboot Friday

By Jessica Tyson

Mental health advocate Mike King is on a mission to make a world record of the most people doing a haka in gumboots as a part of Gumboot Friday today.

The haka will be led by rugby legend Buck Shelford at 6pm, with a goal of at least 654 people taking part.

“Last year 654 people took their lives so Buck is going to lead a haka to celebrate their lives. When people lose their loved ones to suicide they are actively encouraged to just move on. We want to say to these people, 'We see you and we honour your lives'.”

King has invited people to arrive by 5.30pm for the first practice before the 6pm haka. 

Gumboot Friday is an initiative created by I AM HOPE and King's charity, the Key to  Life Charitable Trust to raise money to providing rangatahi with free counselling support.

This year King and his team have decided to walk 100km around the Auckland Domain in a bid to raise $100,000.

“If we reach our goal it will provide over 37,000 free non-stigmatising counselling sessions for our kids," he says.

“I say non-stigmatising because under the current system the only way young people can get free counselling is to go to a doctor, be diagnosed mentally ill, and then go on an excruciatingly long waiting list.”

King  says 100 per cent of the money donated to Gumboot Friday will go to free kids' counselling.

“There are no admin fees. There are no account fees. Every cent of your dollar goes to free kids' counselling,” he says.