National Remembrance Service, Christchurch
E nga mana nui, e nga iwi maha, e nga whanau morehu,
tena koutou katoa.
Haere mai tatau katoa, kia rupeke ai te kupu whakahauora.
As salaam Aleikum
I come here today to convey love and messages of condolence and support from our Queen, from leaders of nations around the world and from our fellow New Zealanders:
to the widowed,
to the fatherless and motherless,
to the injured,
to the bereaved families
to our Muslim communities and the people of Christchurch.
Although the depth of your grief and sorrow is unimaginable, we all shed tears for your pain and loss.
As we all search for a way forward from that grief, history reminds us of what can happen if good people stand by and allow evil to flourish.
We are at such a point in our history.
Our best weapons against the senseless and vile politics of hate, are to be found within each and every one of us.
We face a renewed moral challenge to do what we can to foster an inclusive sense of community, where all are treated with decency and respect.
Communities where people do not suffer discrimination because of where they come from, their gender, their language, the clothes they wear, or their religious beliefs.
Communities where our cultural differences are considered part of everyday life, and are seen as something to be celebrated.
With tolerance, kindness, respect, and understanding we can and will defeat poisonous malice that seeks to divide us.
But only if we also have the courage to acknowledge and to call out discrimination and racism whenever we see it.
Silence is not enough. It condones the thinking that can encourage everything from casual acts of racism to acts of violence.
When more of us stand up to confront lazy assumptions, prejudice, and wilful ignorance, the easier it will be to drive away such unacceptable behaviour.
In the last fortnight, New Zealanders have responded to this challenge. We have seen a new determination to stem the tide of hate, along with acts of great courage and humanity.
This was evident in the extraordinary courage shown by worshippers, bystanders and first responders at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
It was evident in the tireless efforts of the medical staff who cared for the wounded.
It’s been there in the manaakitanga and aroha expressed by our citizens, all around our country.
In this terrible time of grief, we have been brought closer together. And we have affirmed values that are so important to us: tolerance, kindness and compassion.
By keeping that faith, we can honour the memory of those who lost their lives. We can support the survivors on the long road to recovery, and we can all seek to ensure that such evil does not take root and flourish in our midst again.
I will finish with a whakatauki – a Maori proverb:
He hau matao ka tokia te kiri
Ma te arohanui, ka ora ano
A cold wind chills us,
love and goodwill restores us.
Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui tātou katoa.