Muslim community welcome on marae - Ngāi Tahu

2:07 pm on 18 March 2019

All marae in and around Christchurch have been closed following Friday's attacks, but when they re-open local iwi Ngāi Tahu has assured the Muslim community they are welcome to use them to sleep, pray and mourn their loved ones.

Tuahiwi marae

Tuahiwi marae Photo: supplied

On Friday afternoon police contacted Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu advising them to close all marae for security and safety reasons.

They advised them that large gatherings should be managed with caution.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai said when Tuahiwi, Rāpaki and Ngā Hau e Whā marae re-open the Muslim community would be welcomed there with manaakitanga.

"We will make them available for tangihanga (funerals) if required. There are large numbers of their community coming into Christchurch so we will make them available for accommodation, meeting spaces, manaaki [and] whatever is required to support them."

The terror attack has sent waves of shock throughout the country, and whānau were still grappling with Friday's events, she said.

"People are still in shock of course and scared and angry but what we're ensuring that we're doing with our people is that no matter how they are feeling we must come together as one strong community.

"Once we've gone through the tangihanga process and that's ended, we do need to come together with community leaders and have a conversation about how our Muslim community will be given the manaaki and support they need."

Ngāi Tahu has been participating in community leaders meetings to ensure any iwi and Māori response is well-connected into the wider community response to support the victims and their families.

Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tuahuriri and the Rātana Church led karakia or blessings at the Linwood and Deans Ave mosques in Christchurch today.