Scooter ready for sui­cide aware­ness trip

Northern News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BAY­LEY MOOR

It’s not ev­ery­day that a scooter be­comes an artist’s can­vas - but that is what Far North artist Lester Hall has found him­self work­ing on.

Men­tal health ad­vo­cate Mike King, rang Lester out of the blue, ask­ing him to paint a spon­sored scooter which will be driven from Bluff to Spir­its Bay, near Cape Reinga to raise aware­ness around sui­cide.

The Suzuki bike was dropped off by Mike and Lester was given the free­dom to do what he pleased with it.

‘‘Mike’s got it right, it’s about hope and chang­ing at­ti­tudes,’’ Lester says.

Lester has named the art­work ‘Pukana for Hope’ - with a num­ber of mes­sages in­clud­ing ar­rows point­ing to the mind and the mouth, en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to think be­fore you speak.

‘‘Hope is his [Mike’s] word, and unity and aroha are words I’ve cho­sen that feed straight into hope.’’

Two names are painted on the bike: Jonathan and Stormy.

‘‘I’m just a ran­dom artist and I knew of two peo­ple’s names to write on the bike, and that’s dis­turb­ing in it­self,’’ Lester says.

The names are painted within a heart which is half brown, and half white; rep­re­sent­ing Maori and Pakeha.

Jonathan was Lester’s grand­nephew. While Lester didn’t know Stormy be­fore she died, a con­nec­tion was formed with Stormy’s fam­ily after her mother Tracey reached out to Lester - ad­mir­ing some of his art­work.

Tracey says her daugh­ter would love to know she is in­volved.

‘‘For her to be out there and her name out there trav­el­ling around the coun­try as­sist­ing with this cri­sis that this na­tion has been faced with for so long - she will be over the moon that she is play­ing a very small part in

‘‘It's about hope and chang­ing at­ti­tudes.’’ Lester Hall

re­gards to en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to seek help.

‘‘Which is ironic, since she couldn’t do that her­self.’’

‘‘She will be smil­ing down on that one for sure from above. It’s a su­per cool story if the mes­sages painted upon the bike hits some­one’s heart and makes some­one re­think and re-eval­u­ate their lives then that is all good with us.’’

De­tails for the scooter trip are yet to be con­firmed.

Where to get help:

Life­line (open 24/7) - 0800 543 354

De­pres­sion Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 111 757

Lester Hall work­ing on ‘Pukana for Hope’.

Lester Hall paints Stormy’s name on the bike.

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