Koutou kua riro, e moe
Tātou kua mahue, aroha ki te tangata ko tātou tātou - kia atawhai ki te iwi
Those who have gone, may you finally rest in peace
We who remain, love and compassion to each and every one of us – care for the people
As-salāmu ʿalaykum Peace be upon you
Prime Minister, Your Excellencies, Heads of State and all the dignatories who have travelled here,
I stand alongside Ngai Tahu and mana whenua, to greet you all and to welcome you to Otautahi, our city of Christchurch.
To those who watch from afar, welcome; you are one with us today.
To all the people of Christchurch, including our elected members and local leaders, and especially especially our Muslim brothers and sisters, we come together again as one, as we have done every day in our hearts and minds since the 15th March 2019.
I started my welcome with an acknowledgement to those people who were taken from us on that day. I offer sympathy on behalf of the people of Christchurch to all the families, who grieve - you do not grieve alone, we grieve with you.
What happened here in our city on that day, which was a cowardly attack on our Muslim communities in their places of worship at their time of prayer, was also an attack on us all; on our shared values and on our way of life.
Inspired as it was by hatred, those actions were designed to divide us and tear us apart; they have instead united us, as we are embraced in the compassion and love that we feel for each other no matter where we were born, no matter how we express our faith.
We thank everyone who has sent a message, a tribute, a flower, a poem, a picture - children from across the country have shared their aroha in such special and poignant ways - and the city leaders across the globe, who have stood shoulder to shoulder with their communities in all their diversity, expressing the same solidarity we can feel here today.
Thank you for sharing our grief and thank you for helping restore our faith in humanity.
I ask that today, we collectively express our gratitude and thanks to all those who have played such an extraordinary role in our city in response to what has occurred.
We thank our first responders including the NZ Police, St John Ambulance services and the members of the community at the mosques and passers-by. We honour those who went above and beyond the call of duty.
We thank all the hospital staff, who worked tirelessly to save lives and who have offered care to those who were injured and their families.
We acknowledge the dedication of the coroner’s, city council, City Care and funeral director teams, along with members of the wider NZ Muslim community, who all worked together to ensure the families could bury their loved ones with dignity and respect.
We honour the Imams for their inspiring leadership and for inviting us to attend their Call to Prayer; we honour the Muslim Community Leadership Group for their dedication and we thank all those that have provided cultural advice and ensured decision-making has had the community at its heart. We will continue to work together as one.
We acknowledge and thank the Prime Minister and the NZ government for all the support they have wrapped around our city and thank them for taking urgent action to strengthen New Zealand’s gun laws.
And we call upon the social media platforms to take more responsibility for ensuring that such atrocities cannot be live-streamed and that messages of hate that fuel attacks on members of any community cannot be shared. Hate has no place here; hate has no place anywhere.
I have witnessed people across the city and within the building where I work drop everything and commit every ounce of their being to supporting the response and setting up for the recovery. We know from our experience that placing the community at the heart of all that we do, ensures our purpose and direction will be true.
That is why I am confident that we will get through this time and emerge a kinder and more compassionate place, something we wish for the world.
However, first we each have a responsibility to ask the hard questions of ourselves about what comfort any of us might give to people who harbour racist or extremist views. We now know where this can end. We need to look in the mirror, be honest about who we are and we must all pledge to being a city of inclusion that genuinely embraces diversity every day.
Otautahi Christchurch is a city of peace; we are a city committed to honouring human rights. We need to make this real and we can help lead the way.
We will not be defined by what happened on the 15th of March 2019, we are defined by what followed - the unity, the love, the compassion and the kindness - they are who we are.
Nothing will come between us, no one stands alone, we stand together. We are one - ko tatou tatou.
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou tēnā ra tātou katoa