A public remembrance service is being held this afternoon to mark two years since the Christchurch terror attack.
The ‘Ko Tātou Tātou We Are One’ event at the Christchurch Arena is intended as a way for all New Zealanders to show solidarity with those affected.
Watch it live here:
Dr Kiran Munir, who lost her husband Shaheed Dr Haroon Mahmood in the attacks, said he was a well educated, honourable and refined man.
“He was the love of my life and will always be. My husband for 13 years and my extraordinary soulmate. He was my best friend of 20 years, my pillar of strength, my shelter, my safe space.”
She said the best revenge was not to be like your enemy.
“Despite the tragedy we have faced, we are learning to rise up again with dignity and move forward as best we can. The outpouring of aroha from our fellow New Zealanders, spurred on by the strong and kind leadership of our prime minister Jacinda Ardern meant that we never felt alone in this journey. Phrases like ‘we have hope’, ‘we are one’ and salaam have been our collective message to each other and the world.”
Maha Elmadani, whose father Ali Elmadani died in the terrorist attack said the pain of losing these 51 lives had not only impacted the people of Christchurch.
“It was a pain that rippled throughout New Zealand and the rest of the world and continues to be felt to this day. They were loving fathers, mothers, brothers and sons. Today we remember them. They had so much to give to this land, they were proud kiwis and we were blessed to have them in their lives.
“One of those proud kiwis we lost was Ali Elmadani, He was my dad and he took with him a part of my soul. My baba was a man of few words, gently spoken in classical Arabic. He was a custodian of knowledge and history. When he spoke, everybody listened. He was my teacher, my anchor and my source of truth. Through him I learned about my faith and my Palestinian heritage. When he left this world, so too did the light.
“I wish for a safer more inclusive Aotearoa, where our young generation and all those who follow can be proud of their identities and live freely from fear of discrimination or ignorance.”
Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel began today’s remembrance service by thanking those who had shared their stories
“I know how hard that can be. However a seed of understanding is planted each time such a story is shared. And with that understanding, we see that differences sometimes mask all that we have in common. And it is all we have in common, our shared humanity, that brings us together in times of need and again today.
“Today we also reflect on the leadership of our Muslim communities who asked us to unite in peace love and forgiveness os we could overcome the division and further acts of violence this attack was designed to cause. We can all be proud of how we responded and how we supported each other with kindness and compassion.”
A special prayer service was held at Masjid Al-Nur in Christchurch this morning
About 50 people attended the dua service, also known as a prayer service, which was held by the Muslim Association of Canterbury.
The dua was read out by imam Gamal Fouda, who prayed for those who lost their lives in the massacre.
He said the attack had ultimately failed and the terror attack did not succeed in breaking the country.