Mosque terrorist attacks: Survivor to walk 350km to reclaim peace

4:46 pm on 28 February 2022

A survivor of the 2019 mosque shootings is walking from Dunedin to Christchurch to reclaim the terrorist's path in the name of peace.

Temel Atacocugu is one of those receiving ongoing treatment after he was shot nine times in the Christchurch mosque attacks earlier this year.

Temel Atacocugu needed a lengthy stay in two hospitals after the injuries he received after being shot at Al Noor Mosque. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

Temel Atacocugu was praying at Al Noor Mosque on 15 March 2019 when the terror attacks unfolded.

He was shot nine times.

Earlier that day the terrorist who carried out the attacks left his rented flat in Dunedin and drove to Christchurch to attack worshippers at Jumu'ah - Friday prayers.

The then-28-year-old Australian murdered 51 worshippers and shot and injured 40 others.

Now Atacocugu, a victim of that deadly day, will retrace the path of the killer over the next fortnight to reclaim peace.

Watch a Checkpoint video documenting his struggles and victories on the path to recovery.

He will leave the Octagon in Dunedin tomorrow afternoon and walk the more than 350 kilometres to Christchurch's Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre.

He will arrive in the Garden City on 15 March to commemorate the third anniversary of the attacks.

As part of the walk he is raising money for the Key to Life Charitable Trust, the Child Cancer Foundation and Save the Children.

Just a few days ago on social media, Atacocugu said his excitement was building ahead of the journey.

Temel Atacocugu

Sentencing for Brenton Tarrant on 51 murder, 40 attempted murder and one terrorism charge.


Temel Atacocugu is excited about his marathon walk. Photo: Stuff / Pool

Save the Children New Zealand chief executive Heidi Coetzee said she was humbled by the extraordinary courage shown by Atacocugu in his walk for peace.

"The message of peace has never been more important here and around the world, as hostilities continue to escalate in Ukraine.

"As a victim of horrendous violence himself, Temel's bravery to reclaim the same route the terrorist took for peace reminds us all of the importance of recognising and celebrating the diverse cultures and beliefs we have in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"We are incredibly proud to join him for the first part of his walk for peace and are grateful for his contribution to Save the Children."

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