We, the Intermedia team, express our heartfelt condolences, thoughts and love for all those who have been affected by the tragic events in Christchurch on Friday March 15, 2019 at two of the city’s mosques. We grieve for the senseless loss of life and injury to so many New Zealanders and the ongoing ramifications.
Hospitality Business is in the business of promoting, celebrating and communicating the achievements of the hospitality industry which has helped to place New Zealand on the map for being a peaceful destination with a lifestyle largely unequalled elsewhere.
While our innocence in the face of terrorism has now been taken it reminds us all to live each and everyday with vigour and love; to look after our friends, relatives and colleagues, as we return to workplaces that can often be stressful and demanding.*
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to the terror attack saying: “What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.”
How you can help
Donate to the victims and families
The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Launchgood (a crowdfunding platform for Muslim people) with all funds raised distributed to the victims and families affected by the Christchurch attack. All proceeds will go towards helping with their immediate, short-term needs.
The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups has also set up a crowdfunding campaign on Givealittle. Victim Support says it will use all donations received to the page to provide support and resources for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members. This one has already raised $5 million from everyday New Zealanders, which I think is a bright spot in an otherwise very dark time.
Attend a memorial vigil
In Māori culture, one of the most important aspects of losing a loved one is the tangihanga or tangi. The word means to weep, and to sing a dirge (a lament for the dead).
People travel from all around the country and world to come together at these funerals to share in the grief of loss and memories of those who pass.
They are an important part of our culture. I [ActionStation] see public vigils as serving the same purpose. Here are a few happening around the country over the next week:
- Christchurch – Thursday 21 March from 8.30pm – 9.30pm at Cathedral Square.
- Dunedin – Thursday 21 March in the Octagon.
- Auckland – Friday 22 March from 6pm – 7pm at Aotea Square.
- Nelson Race Unity Day – Sunday 24 March 24 in Victory Square.
Listen to the perspectives of Muslim people
Like with any religious, ethnic or age group, there are multiple perspectives and experiences within the Muslim community. Muslims are an ethnically diverse demographic hailing from 80 different countries around the world. They have been in Aotearoa since 1860.
Widening the articles we read, and the podcasts we listen to, to include a range of Muslim writers or producers is one way we can begin to understand these different perspectives. Here are a couple of pieces that have been written in the wake of the Christchurch attack.
- Christchurch mosque terror attacks a dark day of grief, shock and unspeakable heartbreak by Saziah Bashir, a freelance journalist who writes about social justice, race and gender.
- For us, life in New Zealand will never be the same by Sohail Din, a student at the University of Auckland, and member of the University of Auckland’s Muslim Students’ Association.
- The New Zealand mosques massacre and the denial of Muslim experience by Dr Asim Qureshi, research director at CAGE, a UK-based advocacy organisation working to empower Muslim communities impacted by the War on Terror.
Here is a podcast that came out in 2017, but is essential listening for anyone wanting to understand what life is like for a Muslim person living in New Zealand today.
- Public Enemy is an award-winning four-part podcast series from RNZ looking at the growing Muslim communities in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and how elections, counter-terrorism policies, war and xenophobia have changed lives.
This violent attack on Muslim people who were praying peacefully was based on the gunman’s idea that white people are superior to people of colour. This idea was fuelled by the renewed rise of neo-Nazis, xenophobia and far-right extremism all over the world.
For the last few years, powerful people with platforms (some politicians, some media commentators, almost all giant tech corporations) have stoked racial division to sell ads, generate headlines and create fear among us for cheap votes and clicks.
This racism and hate was also allowed to fester, because we have not been doing enough to condemn casual racism when we see it.
Report Islamophobic and xenophobic comments when you see them. Read this guide from Amnesty International on how to tell someone you love they are being racist.
This is a good book for people working through how they might be complicit in white supremacy.
You can also check out the NZ Human Rights Commission’s toolkit on their Give Nothing To Racism website.
Volunteer to teach former refugees and migrants English
English Language Partners New Zealand has a volunteer teaching programme providing free English lessons to former refugees and migrants. They will train you to provide those who need it with the language skills and confidence necessary to integrate and participate fully in Aotearoa.
Volunteer for The Red Cross
Contact your local Red Cross and see what they need. Volunteer tasks may include setting up a home for a refugee family, helping them with everyday admin such as enrolments, budgeting and shopping, and generally welcoming them into New Zealand.
Take action to end hate speech
For the last few months, our team [ActionStation] has been researching the links between online hate, online misinformation and the rise in hate crimes.
One thing is abundantly clear: Extreme words lead to extreme actions. We need to do all we can to stop both.
Sign this petition that we’re [ActionStation] delivering in a couple of weeks if you want our government to crackdown on online hate and misinformation:
Take action to ban semi-automatic weapons
A member of the ActionStation community, Nik Green, is calling for a ban on all semi-automatic firearms. You can sign his petition today:
There are many other ways you can take action. Find your local Muslim community support group or mosque and reach out to ask how you can help.
Some people have been pledging to form human chains of protection around mosques so Muslims can worship and pray. Others have offered to accompany Muslims to wherever they need to go if they do not feel safe going out in public. We will be in touch again soon with other ways you can help as we find them.
*The Ministry of Health has produced resources to help people experiencing mental distress and it is working to translate the advice into a range of languages. People can also call or text 1737 anytime to talk with a trained counsellor.