Four years ago, we were in a state of anxiety and grief. How could this happen to us in Christchurch. How could innocent members of our community be gunned down in our city?
I well remember going to collect my grandson from Christchurch East school the day of the massacre. There are a large number of Muslim families at the school. Some mothers rushed in, and the rumour was that some parents of the children were dead. The first thing to appear at the time of a disaster is rumour.
We were all locked in. Police car sirens blared everywhere. The Police helicopter buzzed menacingly overhead. The children and worried parents and teachers all gathered in the school hall. Enormous effort was put into protecting the children from knowing what was happening outside the school. To keep them protected as long as possible from the reality of the viciousness which had hit a part of the whanau of this city.
The story of the Muslim attacks has now entered the history of this city and this country. There has been a Royal Commission. The Christchurch Call https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/peace-rights-and-security/international-security/christchurch-call/ was promoted by the then PM Jacinda Ardern (remember she was our PM for a few years).
In an article in the Guardian last week one of the mothers who survived said:
If someone does something bad to you, you show them love,” she will tell them. “This person hated us so much, but we want to teach people what love and kindness is.”
We can really learn from this message. Here’s the link to that article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/15/four-years-after-christchurch-massacre-families-want-to-teach-world-about-love.