An official candlelight vigil for Christchurch is being planned by a team of Taranaki organisations.
The community is invited to come together this Friday night at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands to stand together and honour the Muslim community and the people of Christchurch at a candlelight vigil.
The vigil has been organised by the Muslim Association of Taranaki, Migrant Connections Taranaki, local iwi and hapū and the New Plymouth District Council.
The event represents a coming together of the entire community, encompassing Māori karakia (prayer and welcome), Muslim prayer, speeches from representatives of all organisations involved, and the singing of songs in Arabic, English and Māori.
New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom said the community was deeply saddened by the heart-breaking tragedy in Christchurch.
“New Zealand is a place of inclusiveness, aroha, tolerance and kindness, and the horrific events in Christchurch are not who we are,” he says.
“Let’s send a strong message of love to Christchurch from Taranaki this Friday, by coming together and reaffirming that we are united, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
Geetha Kutty, coordinator of Migrant Connections Taranaki said the love, thoughts and prayers of the region were with the families and friends of the victims, the Muslim community and all the people of Christchurch during this difficult time.
“New Zealand is a peace-loving country and strongly goes up against terrorism. There is no place for hatred in our hearts and we will stand united as one,” Kutty says
Omar Siddiqui, secretary of the Muslim Association of Taranaki says the Taranaki family vigil is not just a show of support and strength, it is an exhibit of respect for life and impediment for extremism.
“It is a time to accumulate our empathy to send a visible, clear message for all intolerable extremist, violent and enticing philosophies. The good of human race cannot be overshadowed by any toxic being. Kia kaha New Zealand,” Siddiqui says
Liana Poutu, chair of Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa says the candlelight vigil provides an opportunity for the community to come together and stand in solidarity with the rest of Aotearoa in showing our support for the whānau affected by this tragedy.
“Having commemorated the firing of the first shots in the Taranaki Land Wars at Te Kohia Pā in Waitara just two days after the event in Christchurch, this is a poignant time and defining moment for us all. E tangi ana te ngakau,” she says.
The vigil will begin at 7pm and those attending are being asked to bring a candle to light in remembrance of those killed at the Deans Avenue and Linwood mosques on 15 March.
The vigil is at 7pm on Friday March 22 at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.
- Access to the venue will not open until 5pm.
- Due to the nature of the event, there is to be no food or alcohol brought in to the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.
- Disabled car parking will be available.
- As the event is not taking place in a mosque, there are no cultural dress requirements.
- Please bring a candle to light.
How you can help
The Muslim Association of Taranaki is centralising fund raising into their humanitarian aid account, to transfer to Christchurch as “One Big Taranaki Whānau”.
All funds will be sent directly to organisations working on the ground to assist in the relief efforts for the Muslim Community in Christchurch.
TSB Bank: 15-3953-0357272-03
Caption: New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom, Migrant Connections Chair Lane Mephan, Migrant Connections coordinator Gheeta Kutty and Muslim Association of Taranaki secretary Omar Siddiqui will be lighting a candle in solidarity for Christchurch on Friday night.