This week we mark one year since the devastating mosque attacks in Christchurch that killed 51 people and shocked communities in New Zealand and around the world.
The intention of the terrorist who committed that cowardly act was to divide our communities against each other, and to promote fear and mistrust. In this, he failed utterly.
Out of the tragedy we suffered on that day came an outpouring of sympathy and support for the victims, their families and their communities.
Aucklanders and New Zealanders came together in grief to support the Muslim community and to unite against the hateful ideologies that motivated the attack.
One year since that terrible event, I am determined to ensure that Auckland continues to be a city where diversity is embraced as a strength and not a weakness.
We are a proudly multicultural and multifaith city, where all people are equal and all people are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of race, colour or creed.
We have zero tolerance for racism, bigotry and prejudice and as mayor I encourage everyone to call out those who would seek to demean or insult others on the basis of their race or faith.
While we will never forget the terrible events of March 15, it is important that we work together to ensure a future where such atrocities are never allowed to happen again.
On March 15, 2020, we will reaffirm our commitment to multiculturalism, diversity and mutual respect between all peoples, and say strongly that the ideology of the Christchurch terrorist will never have a place in our city or our nation.
Dominating the news this week has also been the coronavirus outbreak.
With over 110,000 people affected worldwide and a death toll of around 3600, it is a significant health concern. Its impact will also be felt economically as supply chains and travel are disrupted, creating share market instability and the risk of a global downturn.
So far, we have been fortunate to contain the incidences of the virus here and health authorities are working hard to ensure an effective response to it. They have stressed the need not to panic and to take sensible health precautions.
The Ministry of Health has stated that as of now, the possibility of a widespread community outbreak remains low. For now, it is important to follow best-practice health procedures: wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, cover coughs and sneezes and stay at home if you feel unwell.
Should you need advice, please call the Ministry of Health’s information line on 0800-3585453.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. He writes a regular Column in Indian Newslink.