Christchurch mosque attack memorial service moved indoors

2:49 pm on 11 March 2020

The national remembrance service for the 51 people killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks has been moved indoors due to forecast wet weather.

Al Noor Mosque is strewn with flowers and offerings honouring the victims of the terror attack there.

Flowers outside Al-Noor Mosque, Christchurch, March 2019 Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

The service - Ko Tātou, Tātou We Are One - was to have been held in Hagley Park but will now take place at the Horncastle Arena.

Leaders and members of Canterbury's Muslim community will take part.

The programme has been put together with input from those most affected by the attacks, the survivors and families of the victims.

Those killed in the attacks will be honoured by a Portrait of Remembrance on screen at the event, while their names are read.

About 4700 members of the public can be accommodated inside the arena and 1000 guests including members of the Muslim community have been invited.

A Christchurch City Council spokesperson said another 3000-5000 could be accommodated outside the arena if capacity was reached and would be able to view the service on a big screen.

Organisers will be encouraging attendees to share rides or take public transport.

The service would be jointly led by the local Muslim community, Christchurch City Council standing with Ngāi Tūāhuriri as mana whenua, and the government.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said she was mindful of the national significance of what occurred, at the same time as recognising the impact on local communities.

"This will be an opportunity to remember those who died and were injured and traumatised, along with the people who responded, from bystanders to the emergency services and hospital staff.

"It is also an opportunity to reflect on the response which rejected hatred and division and embraced love, compassion and unity."

Tributes chosen for museum display reflect 'aroha'

Meanwhile, about 100 tributes selected from the thousands left in support for the victims of the Christchurch terror attack have been registered as part of Canterbury Museum's collection.

Museum staff have worked with representatives of Christchurch's Muslim community to select the tributes from the thousands laid at sites across the city and wider region in the wake of the attacks.

The chosen tributes have now been formally registered as part of the museum's collection and will be cared for by the museum.

Fifty-one people died and dozens more were injured in shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre on 15 March last year.

Jumayah Jones, a survivor of the Al Noor Mosque attack and one of the representatives who helped select tributes for the museum, said the museum was the best place to house the tributes.

"When I see all the work that went into these tributes I feel loved and supported. I feel like the wider community has our backs. I feel the aroha," she said.

"The months after the attacks were very busy for our community and many of us did not have as much time as we would have liked to engage with the tributes. Having them in the museum means members of our community can see them whenever they are ready to."

The tributes included flowers, cards, letters, banners, toys, artworks, craft projects, items of personal significance and other objects.

Museum curator special projects Daniel Stirland said it was a challenge selecting from the abundance of tributes.

"The final selection represents the diversity of the tributes in terms of media and source, but also the emotions that they evoke and the stories behind them where they were known."

Those not selected for the collection were offered to victims' families and the remaining toys were donated to the Salvation Army.

Condolence books would be archived by the Christchurch City Council.

Museum director Anthony Wright said the museum was honoured to be entrusted with the care of the tributes.

"We think it's important to preserve these objects and the stories behind them so our Muslim community and the wider Canterbury community can access them in future. Hopefully this will ensure that when we remember this awful act of hatred, we also remember the outpouring of love, compassion and solidarity that followed it."

Some of the smaller tributes are on display at the Museum alongside UNITY, an artwork by Simone Johnstone (aka The Flower Girl) made from colourful plastic wrapping salvaged from the floral tributes.

UNITY is on display in the Museum Visitor Lounge on Level 3 until 22 March.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens wall with hundreds of flowers laid in memory of those lost in the mosque shooting

The wall outside Canterbury Museum that was laden with flowers and other tributes in the days after the mosque attacks. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

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