Wellington Vigil for Christchurch
E nga iwi e pae nei, tena koutou.
Tena tatau i nga mahi tukino o te wa.
Haere mai, tatau katoa, i te wa pouri nei.
My greetings to all gathered here.
I greet you acknowledging this troubled time.
I welcome you all, together we feel the same sorrow.
Like all of you, I watched with horror on Friday as the events in Christchurch unfolded. An act of hatred, perpetrated on groups of innocent people in their places of worship, has brought the sickening reality of terrorism and violence to our country.
On Friday, we saw the very worst aspects of humanity – intolerance, malevolence and bigotry – enacted with fatal results. 50 lives snuffed out, others changed irrevocably.
We will grieve forever.
But love exists to drive out hate, and the outpouring of support and solidarity for the victims, and for our Muslim communities, has demonstrated the very best of human nature.
This weekend, I have received many messages from world leaders expressing their sympathies and support.
- HM The Queen talked of her deep sadness.
- The Prince of Wales called it an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community.
- King Abdullah of Jordan has offered us his full support and he noted that this heinous crime would serve to unite us against extremism, hatred and terrorism, which know no religion.
The Queen and The Prince of Wales also mentioned the first responders – the frontline staff dealing directly with the attacks and its aftermath. I echo their sentiments.
The New Zealand Police, the St John paramedics and the Christchurch hospital staff all showed immense courage and professionalism in a dangerous and uncertain situation. They are to be commended for their actions.
At a time like this, words seem inadequate. Nothing we do or say now will change what has happened.
What we can do is go forward with a determination that hatred must not be allowed to flourish. We should not allow the acts of one person define our nation.
Tonight, we cherish the memory of those who died and stand in solidarity with their loved ones.
We resolve to confront extremism, whenever and wherever we see it.
For all of us here this evening, this is our moment to show that tolerance, mutual respect and love can and will prevail.
Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manwanui, huihui tatou katoa