At least 2000 people gathered at Hatea Loop in Whangarei this evening to show solidarity after a woman was abducted and assaulted on Friday.
The woman in her 20s was dragged into a vehicle while running along the Hatea Loop walkway and taken to a house where police say she was viciously assaulted.
She was then driven to central Whangarei and left on the street.
Local women organised the march at short notice via social media and the popular track around the Town Basin marina was packed with a stream of marchers.
One of them, John Allen, said a show of strength was needed.
"We're walking to reinforce our feeling that this is our town and we will not be intimidated or we won't allow these sorts of people to change our love for this place."
The marchers donated hundreds of dollars for the attack victim, who's had surgery for her injuries.
Rally organiser Corinne Austin, a personal trainer, said the incident had shocked the community.
She said her friends and clients regularly run the Hatea Loop together, and although she did not know the victim personally, she knew someone who did.
Everyone in the small, friendly community was horrified by the attack, she said, and there had been a groundswell of support for the event.
"We just wanted to unite to show solidarity and support as a community ... to show strength in numbers and to lift our spirits, and to also to show our love and support for Friday's young victim."
Ms Austin said the rally was also aimed at raising awareness of running with a buddy.
A 40-year-old man will appear in court tomorrow charged with abduction, sexual violation and wounding with intent to injure.