Once again Christchurch has been shaken. Once again people have been tragically killed and injured. And once again we are all stunned, shocked and in mourning.
But this time we have not been shaken by an act of nature, this time it is the cold-blooded cruelty of an individual who deliberately journeyed to Christchurch because we are a safe, beautiful and tolerant city.
This individual did not hesitate. He showed no emotion and no humanity. And with that, our world was again reshaped and changed.
For those in the mosque, the families and friends of the victims, those that witnessed the attacks, those who so bravely responded to the emergency, their lives have been directly, cruelly scarred. And for our community and our country, our own innocence and sense of security has been shattered.
It is again in these times of tragedy that we realise how closely we are all connected in Christchurch. The death of 50 people, and with 50 more injured, affects us all – everyone in our city knows someone who is involved.
And that is why we have come together these past few weeks to support, encourage and embrace our family, our friends, our neighbours – a community not divided, but even more unified and connected than before.
Acts like this seek to further wedge apart gaps within our community. Our response has defied this.
And we can further defeat the ideas of division and intolerance by continuing to offer support to the victims and their families. We must focus on providing them with the right long-term services in the weeks and months ahead. Then we must work on our gun laws and ask why this person wasn’t identified as a threat, and to do the best we can to ensure this never happens again in our country.
Our hearts are broken, there is a shadow over the city, but we must stand strong together.
Kia kaha, ko tatou ano tatou.