A Catholic priest told a gathering of about 300 people in Auckland for a service to remember the victims of the Easter Sunday bombings, that terrorists do not dictate interfaith relations.
People from different faiths and communities lit candles and prayed during the special mass at St Mary's Catholic Church in Northcote last night.
The service was led by the local priest, Father Jude Algama who was originally from Sri Lanka, and said this week had been a very difficult time for his nation and also his local community in Auckland.
"They are really in a very desperate situation, crying and in pain and in fear."
"We have lost peace which we were enjoying the last few years after our civil war," he said.
Dilhara Balthazar handed out candles as people arrived at the church.
She was also from Sri Lanka and said it was important for her family to be part of tonight's service.
"Because we're so far away from home this is the only way we can the people of Sri Lanka, our people."
"It's such a sad time, this is the time when we can come together as one family not just Sri Lankans, not just one faith," she said.
There were Buddhists and Muslims in the congregation which Mrs Balthazar said was a huge comfort.
Vicar General of the Auckland Diocese Monsignor Bernard Kiely, who gave the homily at the service, said it was up to religious leaders to speak up at times like this.
"Speak out and be very clear that the extremists and the terrorists do not dictate or determine the conversation of interfaith dialogue and relations.
"The Sri Lankan community is small but deeply hurting, so it's important that we as a nation surround them with our love and our prayer," he said.
During the service, hundreds of candles were lit and placed at the front of the church to remember those who had died.
People also came together last night for a service in Lower Hutt, at St Peter and Paul's Church on Knight's Road.
A spokesperson for New Zealand's United Sri Lanka Association Dr Chula Rajapakse said the service was to show solidarity for those affected by the bombings.