Shocked and numbed by the terror attack in Christchurch Friday 15th March 2019…
Yet humbled and proud to witness so much unity as New Zealanders of every race & creed stand together in love. Impressed by the language our Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, used as she conveyed the news to our country and encouraged us to reflect the true New Zealand, who we really are.
We live close to the Hamilton Mosque and often greet our Muslim counterparts in Claudelands Park as we go for our evening walks. We meet and greet many folk and enjoy the brief hello’s and sometimes longer interactions with them all.
On Friday night, after shedding many tears, we joins many other Hamiltonians by going up to the Mosque, spending some time, talking and laying flowers. This is who we are.
We were privileged to have the President of the Waikato Muslim Association, Asad Mohsin, address the crowd. He expressed how deeply encouraged they were by the outpouring of love from the community. Mayor Andrew King, who has been present at the Mosque for a large part of time since this tragedy took place, and MP David Bennett, also spoke briefly.
It was extremely moving to read the many messages of love and support chalked along the pavement and, along with the many flowers tributes left and the constant stream of people coming to pay respects, this was a true reflection of who we are as a nation.
Conversations, often starting with, “Thank you for coming”, continued to express how proud we can be as New Zealanders – this gathering together in love and support, this is who we are! The Hamilton Vigil for Christchurch did not disappoint either. A huge crowd gathered. What a wonderful display of unity. We listened, sung & prayed together recognising the loss, anticipating the journey of healing ahead but knowing that with love, we can do this. We finished our time together with our National anthem framed beautifully with a beautiful song, I Will Walk In Love.
Although we only sung the first verse of God of Nations, the common format in both Maori & English, this week I have been reminded of the other verses, five in total. The second verse stands out as particularly poignant and I have appreciated it being shared across social media. The whole anthem is indeed a beautiful prayer for our Nation.
Darkness may surround us, it becomes part of our journey. However it is not the end. We can lift up our heads to see the light and walk in unity together.
Life events are worth celebrating