21 Mar 2019

PM urges people to pay their respects as nation mourns

9:53 pm on 21 March 2019

New Zealand will reflect on those killed in the Christchurch terror attack with two minutes of silence at Hagley Park, opposite the Al Noor Mosque in Deans Ave tomorrow.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Kilbirnie Mosque.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be among leaders praying alongside the Muslim community in Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

It will follow a broadcast of the Muslim Call to Prayer at 1.30pm, on RNZ and TVNZ.

RNZ is the lead radio broadcaster for the event, and is working in partnership with TVNZ. RNZ will provide the feed for any other radio broadcaster that wishes to take it up.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and community leaders have been invited by the Muslim community to be part of the official proceedings.

The community leaders will include Dr Mustafa Farouk, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai, Ūpoko of Ngāi Tūāhuriri Dr Te Maire Tau and Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel. It's also expected 30 foreign dignitaries will attend.

Ms Ardern is encouraging people right around the country to join in reflecting on the events, one week on.

"I know many New Zealanders wish to mark the week that has passed since the terrorist attack and to support the Muslim community as they return to mosques," Ms Ardern said.

"How we choose to reflect during the silence will be different for each of us. Everyone should do what feels right for them, wherever they are - at home, at work, at school."

The programme

  • 1.15pm - Everyone to be in position
  • 1.30pm - Muslim Call to Prayer
  • 1.32pm - Two-minute silence to be observed
  • 1.34pm - Prayers begin and the crowd must remain silent
  • 2pm - PM departs

Ms Ardern said planning was still ongoing for a national memorial service, which would be held next week.

"I appreciate there is significant interest in this service from throughout New Zealand and internationally, and we will continue to work closely with the local Muslim community, Ngāi Tahu, FIANZ and Christchurch City Council to provide more information as soon as we can.

"As a nation, as one, we will pay our respects to those who died in Christchurch."

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