Parliament interrupted its usual schedule this week to acknowledge the terror attacks on two Mosques in Christchurch.
Fifty people died and another fifty injured after a gunman opened fire in the Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park, and at the Linwood Mosque on 15 March.
Here's what changed at Parliament
At 2pm on a sitting day, the Serjeant at Arms walks in holding a mace and yells "Mr Speaker". The mace is placed on the table in the center of the debating chamber and the Speaker delivers the parliamentary prayer.
It's a tradition dating back to the early days of Parliament and for the past 150 years, it has been an overtly Christian prayer.
This week, the Speaker Trevor Mallard broke tradition in more ways than one by inviting Imam Nizam ul haq Thanvi to deliver the prayer in Arabi; it was then translated into English by Tahir Nawaz.
Walking into the House with the Speaker and the imam were representatives of the Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Rātana, Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian faiths and churches.
This breaks the tradition not only of a prayer that is usually Christian but also the rule about 'strangers' in the debating chamber.
Non-MPs on the floor of the debating chamber are known as strangers and as the name implies they are not allowed there and are not welcome. There was no such sentiment on Tuesday.
Question time cancelled
The usual hour of wit and digs was cancelled this week as were all debates on legislation and the general debate.
Instead, on Tuesday after the imam gave the prayer the House moved on to a Ministerial Statement from the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Ministerial Statements are a way for the Government to inform the House of a significant event or something of public importance.
Topics over the last year have included culling cattle to stop the spread of mycoplasma bovis, the Nelson bush fires, and on a happier note, congratulating the 2018 New Zealand Winter Olympics team.
A Ministerial Statement can be made at any time in the House but cannot interrupt a member who is speaking and cannot be made during the committee of the whole House (which is one of the stages of a bill’s passage to becoming law).
The Minister making the statement goes first, followed by leaders of parties with six or more members but given the severity of the event, ACT leader David Seymour was able to speak to the statement as well. The Minister then gets a chance to reply at the end.
There's no vote on a ministerial statement as there's no question up for debate and the House adjourned afterwards at about 3pm as a mark of respect for the victims of the attack when usually the House would finish at 10pm.
No General Debate or Member's day
Wednesday also had changes to its usual schedule with the general debate cancelled and the member's bills up for debate postponed.
The General Debate or Taupatupatu Whānui is a normal feature on a Wednesday which takes place after question time. Debates are quite restrictive in terms of what topics can be discussed so the General Debate gives MPs a chance to bring up issues that normally wouldn't be allowed.
On alternate Wednesdays in the House, bills from member's who are not MPs are up for debate but both these and the General Debate were put aside on so a two-hour debate on a motion of condolence could be had instead.
The motion moved by Deputy leader of the Labour Party Kelvin Davis reads:
"I move, That this House express its sorrow to the victims, families, and communities of the terrorist attack on the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, promise to protect Muslim New Zealanders and their right to be safe from fear, assert that they are us, and acknowledge the effect of the tragedy on the whole of New Zealand."
Twenty-four speeches of up to five minutes in length were allowed for the debate and the motion was agreed to unanimously.
The House then adjourned until 2 April.