They were mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. They were IT workers, and doctors, and parents, and students. They were important, and valuable, and loved. They were bound together by their faith, by their beliefs, and because they were a part of the community, the city, the New Zealand that we call home.
HFNZ expresses its heartbreak at this senseless taking of life, and its unequivocal support for the families and individuals affected by the events of March 15.
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ - inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un - we belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return. This is what Muslims say when they hear that someone has died. This will have been said a lot over the last weeks. Too often. The appalling terrorist attack on people worshipping at the Deans Ave and Linwood Ave mosques in Christchurch on March 15 brings into stark relief how important it is for us to be unified and inclusive.
When news first started coming through of a shooting in Christchurch, many of us would have dismissed it as another drive-by, or perhaps a robbery. None of us would have even considered the possibility of a racist tragedy on the scale that unfolded. That's just not what happens in NZ, we say. Except this sort of thing does happen.
Let this tragedy be a reminder of the price of separatism and discrimination, and a signpost for unity in the face of intolerance.
Bleeding disorders do not discriminate. HFNZ's membership includes and embraces a wide cross-section of New Zealand. We represent people who identify with a variety of ethnicity, of culture, of faith, of gender, of sexual orientation, and of socio-economic standing. We understand that diversity is what makes us whole. We know that inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance are the keys to peace, and to community. HFNZ has no room for hate.
This is reflected in the waiata adopted by HFNZ several years ago:
He hōnore, he korōria
Maungārongo ki te whenua
Whakaaro pai e
Kingā tangata katoa
Ake ake, ake ake
Honour, glory, and
peace to the land
May good thoughts come
to all people
for ever and ever, for ever and ever.
It is our hope and desire that the enormous outpouring of grief, support, and solidarity from all New Zealand is a catalyst for change. Terrorism is meant to breed fear and discord. These last few days have shown that this has no future in NZ. We have come together and shown that we are not so easily divided.
If you are feeling unduly affected by this tragedy, remember that our Outreach team are available for support. Just call 0508 FACTOR (322 867). Alternatively, you can access support by calling or texting 1737, to speak to a trained counsellor for free.
Ngā mihi nui,
The HFNZ Team.