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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

National remembrance service to be held in New Zealand for mosque attack victims

50 people were killed and dozens more injured in the mass shooting at two mosques last week.
Mar 24th 2019, 1:26 PM 6,726 0

A NATIONAL REMEMBRANCE service for the victims of the attacks of mosques in New Zealand will be held next Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced. 

The service will be held in Christchurch in Hagley Park and will be jointly led by the Government of New Zealand, the city of Christchurch, Ngāi Tahu and the Muslim community.

Fifty people were killed and dozens more injured in the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday 15 March. 

Australian-born Brenton Tarrant (28) filmed himself carrying out the horrific attack. The self-professed white supremacist made a white power symbol when in court.

Over the past week, victims’ funerals took place, with a father and son among the first people to be laid to rest.

“The National Remembrance Service provides an opportunity for Cantabrians, New Zealanders and people all around the world to come together as one to honour the victims of the terrorist attack,” Jacinda Ardern said. 

In the week since the unprecedented terror attack there has been an outpouring of grief and love in our country. The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values.

Ardern added that it is anticipated that international visitors will also want to attend the service.

The details of the service, including exact location, broadcast arrangements and order of service will be announced later in the week.

Vigil

This announcement comes as up to 40,000 people attended a vigil today at Hagley Park. 

It was held on a stage that had been set up for a concert by Canadian singer Bryan Adams that was cancelled after the attacks.

New Zealand Mosque Shooting Armed police patrolling the vigil in Hagley Park Source: Mark Baker via AP

The names of each of the 50 people killed were read out.

Okirano Tilaia, the head boy at Cashmere High School, which lost two students in the attack, cited Martin Luther King Jr in his speech, saying he conquered people with love, peace and solidarity.

He said:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can. And hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can. 

New Zealand Mosque Shooting People embrace is a show of love during the vigil Source: Mark Baker

New Zealand has been holding a series of memorials since the attacks.

On Friday, people across the nation observed the Muslim call to prayer one week after the attacks.

Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder in the attacks and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on 5 April.

Includes reporting by Associated Press

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Hayley Halpin

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