Personal Messages

You can send a personal message, which will be displayed here showing your support to the world - messages can either be displayed anonymously or named depending on your preference.

Messages of support and personal stories remembering those who have been lost and looking towards the future

Messages of Support

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:


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Messages from previous AIDS Candlelight Memorials


2023 AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Sunday 21st May 2023

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:


2022 AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Sunday 15th May 2022

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:

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As a queer person, today my heart belongs to those who aren’t with us. All the inspirations, leaders, revolutionists, people that we lost in the battle against bigotry. Today, I will cherish my life, a gift that was taken too soon for many people just like me.


I don't know anyone personally living with HIV or AIDS but I'm part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I can't imagine what it would've been like to lose people close to you and have people in power doing nothing and creating stigma.


Remembering all my colleagues who have left us for their heavenly abode. Nonetheless for those who are not known to me and have left us..praying God 🙏 that we gain courage and strength with each passing days until we all meet in the other side.

Haobam Nanao

May our simple action rekindle the fire to remember the many lives lost and ignite the flames of commitment to battle the stigma regarding AIDS/HIV! A spark of light may bring hope to those who have lost faith while battling AIDS/HIV but with everyone supporting it can bring warmth that you are not alone! We are here for you! We will help guide your way! AIDSCandleLightMemorial


Remembering those who have past and those of us living with HIV. May hope is to break the stigma of those of us affected by HIV. To those who choose to openly share your stories are courageous, many wonderful people remember to accept and be inclusive. No story or journey is the same. X


I wish to applaude and remeber the great people livign with HIV that put ther faces on the line in order ot have a face to AIDS. From their gallant acts and bravery we have been able to access ART. In fact few of us me especailly did not think i would live this long. God has been gracious and to us we ar enow living longer and prodcuitve lives. They opened the way for us to be, and here we are. we can only take the batton furhter to sustain the progress civil society and speciafically Women Living with HIV have made over the years. May God rest all the departed PLHIV souls in eternal Peace

Flavia Kyomukama


2021 AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Sunday 16th May 2021

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:

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2020 AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Sunday 17th May 2020

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:

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The global events we’re currently experiencing with Covid-19 are tough and are having a profound effect on us all. While it’s disappointing that this year’s memorial cannot be held in a public setting as it normally would be, I’m grateful that through technology we can still acknowledge this year’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial in a meaningful way.

This is a particularly tough time for long term survivors as there are many parallels between the current Covid-19 pandemic and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It’s important we ensure that support is available to those in need and I encourage people to regularly check on their loved ones. Earlier this year I announced that a National-led Government would provide an extra $1million a year in funding for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation to ensure people receive the support they deserve.

On behalf of the National Party I acknowledge all those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS and extend my best wishes to everyone participating in this year’s AIDS Candlelight Memorial.

Yours sincerely
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Simon Bridges
Leader of the National Party
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Kia ora tātou katoa

I send my deep aroha to all our families and communities who have lost people from AIDS related illnesses. People who are HIV positive are people we love, people we laugh and cry with, people we care for and people who take care of us. It is so important that we let go of harmful stigmas that have created barriers for people to get the support they deserve. It is time we all worked towards a world that embraces care and acceptance for our friends and family with HIV. We will all benefit when we light a candle not just for those precious beings we lost, but for a path of collective safety for us all.
Ngā mihi
Marama Davidson
Coleader Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand
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Thank you to all of you who continue to show care and support for all of us who are living with HIV. My thoughts today are with all those who have passed and for those who have lost their loved ones. May we move closer always to a world without stigma and suffering.

Seb Stewart

Remembering those who have lived with Aids, now separated from us, those who mourn them, those who who have supported the Aids Candlelight remembrances in Auckland in different places over many years, the quilts, the speakers, singers, dancers, musicians; sacred spaces filled with candles.

Mark Hangartner

Silver Rainbow NZ sends heartfelt wishes to all who went before, who researched and used themselves as unofficial trial subjects and who developed the meds that exist today. To all those who are going into aged care living with HIV you have every right to have loving care, reach out if this is not what you are receiving.


I volunteered for NZ Aids Foundation in the 90s as a carer/buddy it was the most rewarding experience i could have had, being with the beautiful souls enduring the last stages of this disease. I lived with HIV for 10yrs and have always been a supporter of the fight against HIV. A candle burns in my window today for the souls departed.


From Chihuahua, México we send our love and support to all the people out there living with HIV and/or AIDS, we remember and we stand strong.

#WeRemember #CaminemosJuntxs

Fatima IBP

Darren, Brent, Freddy, Carl Henry.R.I.P.
My candle burns for you.


Tomorrow I will miss singing with GALS at the Candlelight Memorial as we always have. We will light a candle at home and remember friends lost to the HIV AIDS pandemic. As we cautiously celebrate our progress in Aotearoa against this most recent indiscriminate viral killer, we will continue to educate, support, and fight back.

Luca Bree

Eric Evans

COVID-19 will have several sharp reminders for all those affected by HIV and take people back to the beginning of the outbreak in the 1980’s. As the current loss of life here and overseas, brings uncertainty again into our daily lives.
People will be reminded at this time of the loss of several friends, family, and significant others from AIDS.
Thankfully, HIV care has changed since the 1980’s although the loss of loved ones lasts forever in our hearts.
Kia Kaha

James Rice-Davies

Kia Orana. Thinking of loved ones past. Your memory lives on because we speak your names. We acknowledge you. We remember you. We celebrate you. 'Kua maarama tei kite i te mamae'. 'Those who have felt the pain understand'. i.e. A person who has felt sorrow understands best. Te Atua Te Aro'a. xox

Geoff Ruaine

Damien Rule-Neal

To those who have gone before,

It is with immense gratitude that we thank you for the ability to live our lives freely today. We remember your fight, we remember your lives. You are not lost. We live loudly and proudly through your spirit. Arohanui.

Gay URL Youth Group - NZAF/ASHS

Waikato Sexual Health Clinic

At this very relevant time it is important to remember those that passed from HIV. We must also acknowledge those people that supported these sufferers with respect and kindness and to the work that is ongoing in the battle against HIV.


I want to acknowledge the resilience and strength of those living with HIV. Thank you to those who are out there standing up for and helping reduce the stigma in our communities. I feel special and a privileged to hear the life stories past and present of those living with or have lived with HIV and I honor you. It has helped me become more empowered and compassionate and my life is now richer. Also would like to mihi to those gone recently and especially those taken at a time when there was very little treatment. E aku rangatira tēnei au ka mihi kina tātou kua whakarangatira i tēnei kaupapa. Ahakoa te pouri o te kaupapa nei he nui te aroha me te whakanui o roto.

Ben Black

This is a time to remember loved ones lost to AIDS, all of them heroes. It’s also a time to reflect and to act. Everyone touched by HIV has wisdom to offer in building a better world today: in communities, partnerships, whānau, hospitals, workplaces, universities. The courage, compassion, spirit, love and impatience we draw upon to fight the HIV epidemic are now our guides for the COVID-19 crisis as well. Kia kaha, aroha nui.

Peter Saxton

Dean Bates

At this time I remember clearly the brave people who faced HIV when we had no effective treatment. We lost so many. As we face another new infection I feel for those experiencing losses and making sacrifices. We must again look foward and work together. Kia kaha.

Joan Ingram

I send my sympathy to all who lost a partner, family member, or friend to AIDS. I hope that effective treatments and vaccines can be found for COVID-19. Love life and the beautiful world on which we live. Be kind and considerate to others and yourself.

Mark Thomas

Remembering those who have lost loved ones to HIV and to all of those who advocate to breakdown stigma, its been a long road that continually needs work kia kaha in these challenging times.


In the early 1990’s I had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing people I have ever come across in my professional career. As a Registered Nurse, I worked in many AIDS wards around the world. I became friends with patients I had never met and eventually due to stigma around the disease, became the family, whānau, (to use New Zealand words). As a nurse working on AIDS wards, I got to know some remarkable colleagues, because so many others were unwilling to work with these incredible people who were suffering and dying alone.

The stigma around HIV / AIDS and those who cared for them was as rife then as it is today. In those days, co-workers on other wards would move tables in the cafeteria’s because they were afraid that if you sat by them, they would catch AIDS, as the fatalities continued to grow and grow so too did the stereotype, that if you were gay or nursed anyone with AIDS, you must have AIDS and thus continued the shame that caused so much chaos and devastation that only those friends, family, health professionals or indeed anyone that would work with those dying were alienated, for many, in the end, the only ‘family’ they had were those of us that believed strongly enough that you could not catch this disease simply through touching them, holding their hand, wiping away tears and providing comfort and reassurance in their last hours.

Indeed, it was many years after the massive loss of life that money began to pour into looking at prevention as well as a potential ‘cure’ for AIDS, later to become more popularly known as HIV / AIDS. Despite Diana, the late Princess of Wales, being seen (and photographed, shocking the world), holding the hand of a patient with AIDS in 1987, without gloves or any kind of protective gear that we see today in the world we now live in, thanks to SARS-Cov-2 (Covid-19), we still see shame, stigma and degradation for those PLWHA.

According to the World Health Organisation in 2018, 32 million people globally have died of HIV / AIDS (or related diseases), while 75 million are noted to be infected with HIV. In 2019, we saw the global pandemic of Covid-19 and suddenly the entire world rushed to find a cure, a vaccine, anything to stop the global spread of a disease that as at the 8th of May has seen 3,841,997 confirmed cases with 269,251 deaths – nowhere near the loss our community globally suffered during the AIDS crisis in the 80’s and 90’s and yet, we sit here today, still waiting for a vaccine that could potentially cure or prevent the spread of this disease.

PLWHA are still stigmatised, denigrated and humiliated because of fear and ignorance, the same as when someone sneezes today – the look from others is that you have Covid-19 and yet, with the ability to maintain an undetectable level of HIV, I see people living longer and longer, something I never saw during the early days of the HIV / AIDS pandemic, where once you got the diagnosis, many were dead within months, now they live healthy for decades and in many ways are no different to people who suffer from Diabetes or Asthma, as long as you take your medication, you can live a long healthy productive life.

In 2020, while we are in the midst of fighting another global pandemic, the candlelight memorial that would normally be held in person is now a virtual one, so I implore anyone who has ever been impacted or effected by HIV / AIDS to light a candle, to remember those who went too soon, who shared their stories that would have made us laugh and make us cry, who made everyone around them feel loved and were love back not because they were dying / died but because they too were loved.

So together, this year, lets remember them for who they were, the amazing lives they lived, the stories they shared, those that pioneered many of the ways that allow us as gay men and women to have the freedoms we do now and thank them for enriching our lives.

Kia okioki koutou i runga i te rangimarie


While the current COVID-19 pandemic has put a dampener on our ability to gather together in person. It fills me with hope and pride that it has not muted our respect for those who have gone before us and support for those living with and affected by HIV.

Taking this incredible event online, is just further testament to the perseverance and dedication of our communities. I know that many a warm embrace and moment of remembrance will happen in person, in the future. But, for now, I take solace in these messages shared and online support.

On behalf of NZAF I send the thoughts and support of many, and it is not lost on me the situation we find ourselves in today, being a raw and triggering one for many of our community. As we watch the powers-that-be grapple with the current pandemic, we hope some reflection is held on those whom our candles represent again in these darker times.

As always, we and all the organisations set up by brave people in response to those times once again offer support to those who are struggling. There is no shame in seeking help and we are fortunate enough to have the technology during today’s pandemic to keep connected and support each other remotely.

Jason Myers, NZAF Chief Executive

Jason Myers

Mark Fisher

We have so much to learn from those who came before us, and paved the way for our communities. I want to acknowledge the strength and resilience of those living with HIV, with a special shout out for those who fight for their communities and to destigmatise HIV, and of course those who fought and are no longer with us. ❤️

Frances Arns

My thoughts are with those who have had friends, family and loved ones who have passed. The privilege of knowing and hearing the life stories of those who have lived with/living with HIV has only enhanced my life both professionally and privately. Those people who have shared with me their stories are now legends that inspire my work within the HIV Community. You are the reason I get up in the morning, as helping others only makes our lives richer in social interactions while making positive change. Virtual hugs to all.

Warren Hatcher

Our fight is not over. Now, more than ever, we remain vigilant. We honour the lives of those who have passed and lift up the voices of those who live on. Kia kaha, Aotearoa.

Blaise Clotworthy

We must always remember the courage of those who loved and then died with HIV. Although the future re HIV is much brighter there is still much work to do in terms of stigma and medically

Dr Edward Coughlan

Arohanui to those who and their whanu have died or are living with HIV/Aids.
Send much love from Aotearoa/New Zealand! ❤️x

Matt Sharpe


2019 AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Sunday 19th May 2019

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:

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2018 AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Sunday 20th May 2018

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:

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2017 AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Sunday 21st May 2017

Messages of Support, from Political Parties and the Governor General:

Governor General of New Zealand - View
The National Party - View
The Labour Party - View
The Greens - View
Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central - View

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