Our last (March 20) newsletter featured only two events on Friday 15 March 2019: a peaceful and creative school student demonstration on climate change in Auckland’s Aotea Square (one of many throughout the world that day) , and the appalling terrorist massacre of Muslim people at prayer in Christchurch, which unknown to us was happening simultaneously in Christchurch. It was clearly inappropriate for us to write about anything else.
In the month since then we have seen a nation-wide outpouring of love and support, of flowers and posters, and of gifts for the Muslim families affected; and we have witnessed inspiring leadership from our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
We have joined in several events mourning the Christchurch tragedy and acknowledging the need for change in Aotearoa: the Vigil for the Victims in Aotea Square, a Ranui Walk of Aroha to the Ranui Mosque and Islamic Centre, and the Jummah Rememberance Vigil for Lives Taken in Christchurch. This vigil was opened by a group of 50 Ngāti Whātua ki Orakei wahine who honoured and mourned the 50 Muslim people killed in Christchurch in their 50 simultaneous karanga. Our friend Farida was one of the speakers, many of whom made the links between racism and terrorism, stressed the messages of love and forgiveness within Islam, and reminded us of our on-going obligation as a nation to challenge and change the consequences of colonisation and unconscious bias within our nation.
And on 29 March we watched on live television the beautiful memorial service in Christchurch, led by Ngai Tahu, with moving speeches especially by Farid Ahmed, a paraplegic man whose wife had been killed, and by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.
We will all move on with our lives- but none of us is unchanged by what has happened here in Aotearoa.
Pictures and posters are appearing all over Auckland to remind
of the issues to be faced
by us as individuals, and by our nation.