Hatred has “no place” in Lower Hutt

Hatred has “no place” in Lower Hutt

A group of friends who visit the Lower Hutt Islamic Centre daily, lit candles to honour those who died. PHOTO: Jamie-Lee Bracken

Dave Dobbyn’s Welcome Home hummed throughout the Lower Hutt Recreation Grounds  as hundreds gathered to remember the Christchurch shooting victims, Bethany Reitsma and Jamie-Lee Bracken report.

Naenae College student Mafi Fale (16) said she came to support her Muslim school friends. “We can see the world coming together united tonight.”

Muslim woman Benazeer Ali (23) from Lower Hutt acknowledged the unity in the crowd. “I’m really grateful for the turnout. It’s amazing to see all the different cultures here.”

Ali was travelling to Christchurch the next day with family to attend funerals for the victims.

Speaker Bilal Masood from the Lower Hutt Islamic Centre in Taita said people were still trying to make sense of what had happened.

“The [victims were] builders, drivers, lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers, researchers and scientists.

“Some say March 15, 2019 was the day New Zealand lost its innocence. But along with this loss comes the opportunity to grow.”

Speaker Aseiah Mirza said New Zealanders had shown what a truly integrated society looked like.

“We will do what we Kiwis do best – we will roll up our sleeves and clean up our communities of racism.”

Mayor Ray Wallace said hatred had no place in the Lower Hutt community or in New Zealand.

Fifty candles were lit on the stage as choirs sang in the background.

The Lower Hutt community joined together in solidarity. PHOTO: Jamie-Lee Bracken

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Article by Bethany Reitsma

About Author Student reporter for Petone and Eastbourne, specialising in arts and environment news. Lover of coffee, books and vanilla candles.


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Article by Bethany Reitsma

About Author Student reporter for Petone and Eastbourne, specialising in arts and environment news. Lover of coffee, books and vanilla candles.


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