Outpour of love and empathy heartens New Zealanders

Outpour of love and empathy heartens New Zealanders

Human Rights Commission
Wellington, March 13, 2020

Thousands mourned in Christchurch on March 22, 2019, a week after the massacre (RNZ Picture)

The massacre of 51 people and the injury of dozens more at two Christchurch Mosques on March 15, 2019 shook Aotearoa New Zealand to its foundation and generated deep soul-searching.

One year on from the massacre the Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission acknowledge the grief and loss that continues to be experienced by our Muslim communities and whānau throughout Aotearoa and overseas.

Numerous people must now navigate life without their loved ones.

Emotional trauma

There are also many who now have permanent injuries or severe and ongoing emotional trauma because of the heinous and hateful act which took place on that day.

Muslim New Zealanders have shown strength, dignity and generosity of spirit in how they have responded to the massacre. They have taken positive action to support their communities, opened their doors and hearts to fellow New Zealanders, and shown leadership in taking steps to stop this type of tragic event happening again. 

Empathy and support

We were all greatly heartened by the outpouring of love, empathy and support from throughout Aotearoa in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. It was heartfelt and pervasive. It brought us together. It does not end there.

We ask everyone in Aotearoa to give no tolerance to Islamophobic, racist, Anti-Semitic, and xenophobic behaviours in all their forms, from jokes and slurs through to acts of verbal and physical violence.

We know there are communities throughout Aotearoa who are experiencing hateful and racist attacks. We know we are better than this. 

Aotearoa New Zealand will not be defined by March 15, 2019.

We will be defined by our collective, ongoing and long-term response to this horrific event.

As Prophet Mohammed said, “None of you has faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself.” 

The above articles has been signed Chief Commissioner Paul Hunt; Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon; Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo and Disability Right Commissioner Paula Tesoriero.

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