As-salumu alaykum, Peace be Upon you
May I acknowledge all the dignatories here today.
Hon Megan Woods, Hon Jenny Salesa, Hon Peeni Henare
Local Councillors Phil Clearwater, Tim Scandrett and Anne Galloway
Karolin Potter chair of the Community Board and other members who are here.
Imam Gamal Fouda, Masjid Al Noor; Shagaf Khan, President Muslim Association of Canterbury; Dr Mustafa Farouk, President of FIANZ; Sheikh Mohammad Amir, Chief Religious Advisor FIANZ; Representatives of Hillmorton High School and members of the wider community of Hillmorton and Hoon Hay
I am here today to speak on behalf of the people of Christchurch to offer our aroha and love to the families of the Shaheed from this area, Husna Ahmed, Tariq Rashid Omar, Matiullah Safi and Abdukadir Elmi.
In coming together to pay tribute to those whose lives were so cruelly taken from their families, we also acknowledge the impact on their local communities, and here today we feel the enormity of the loss, so keenly felt by the Hillmorton and Hoon Hay communities, and I hope that this memorial service contributes to your healing as well.
I have been asked by many people about the response to the events of the 15th March. I have said there were three elements that came together. One was the response of our Prime Minister. The authenticity of her empathy and compassion resonated across the world in everything she said and did.
The second was the response of the people of Otautahi Christchurch, alongside Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu and Ngai Tuahuriri, who came together in solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters under the banner of Ko Tatou Tatou - We are One. This outpouring of love, compassion and kindness was also felt across the world as people of all faith stood side by side with their Muslim communities to stand together as one.
However it was the third element, which, had it been missing, would have made the whole response incomplete.
And that was the response of our Muslim brothers and sisters. We all recall the words of Imam Gamal Fouda ringing out across Hagley Park and reverberating across the world that we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable. You spoke of love and unity and the determination not to let anyone divide us. You said: ‘We are broken-hearted but we are not broken.’
And Farid Ahmed - your words amplified these messages of love and peace. I am reminded that the word for courage comes from the same word for heart, and you spoke with your whole heart in a way that captured the world’s attention. You spoke of choosing peace and love. However it was the expression of an infinite capacity for forgiveness that comes from a place of true faith that inspired everyone.
The world heard the message that Islam stands for peace.
And we all heard the message that there is a better way, not only in how we respond to atrocity, but also in how we live our lives every day - as one. In communities like this we can see what that means, as we come together as one.
We do so to pay tribute to those whose lives have been taken from us, and to say to their families, the people of Christchurch will be there for you always.
Ko Tatou Tatou - We are One. We commit to make this real every day of our lives, creating a lasting legacy, a tribute, in memory of those so tragically taken from us on 15 March this year.