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March 25, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Basin Reserve Vigil: Wellington Stands with Mosque Attack Victims

Sunday, March 17 saw some 1100 Wellingtonians congregate at the Basin Reserve to mourn the loss of 50 lives in the recent Al Noor and Linwood Mosque Terror Attacks.

 

The Basin Reserve vigil was held in parallel with similar assemblies around New Zealand, to reject terrorism and Islamophobia, and to stand in solidarity with the country’s Muslim communities.

Orchestra Wellington and The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra welcomed the crowds, many of whom were clad in white, bearing signs and flowers.

 

Many were clearly overwhelmed with bewilderment, grief, and anger.

The crowd listened to speeches, prayer, and song, each carrying messages of loss, peace, and the need for change.

 

Mayor Justin Lester welcomed the crowd, with “Bismillah, As-Salaam Alaikum”—‘In the name of God, may peace be with you.’

 

He went on, “I say to all of you tonight hate will not divide us, we will embrace our diversity and we will show love.”

Gayaal Iddamalgoda, migrant and refugee rights campaigner, captivated and confronted attendees as he called for the tripling of the refugee quota.

 

With applause, Gayaal closed by addressing the shooter directly. Raising his fist to the sky he said, “Never, never again.”

The gathering concluded with the singing of “Te Aroha”, followed by an impromptu haka, lead by members of the public and supported by others scattered around the basin.

As the reserve emptied, the mood remained somber. However, it was clear the words said at the vigil had resonated, as well as those said by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week:

 

“They were New Zealanders. They are us. And because they are us, we, as a nation, we mourn them.”

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this