Aotearoa stands together

March 18 2019 by David Gibbs, Commercial and Operations Manager, La

Aotearoa stands together. Like everyone in New Zealand, I was horrifi ed by the events in Christchurch last Friday. It was undoubtedly one of Aotearoa’s darkest days. In today’s world of instant communication and round-the-clock news, we’re used to seeing and hearing about horrible acts of violence overseas. And while intellectually, we all know that nowhere is immune to the black stain of terrorism, I, probably like you, had convinced myself that we were safe. Tucked away at the bottom of the world with a small, socially progressive population, I felt like we were unlikely to ever experience the horror of mass murder on this scale. I was so wrong.

New Zealand is never going to be the same again. We are now unfortunately part of a group of countries where mass murder by extremist groups has smashed our innocence. Like Australia after the Port Arthur massacre, our leaders will obviously tackle our gun laws with updated legislation and I’m sure the ease of fl ying throughout NZ is also going to change. We are all going to be on guard and on edge for a long while. Condolences from world leaders and people around the world who have been in this situation before us, are very welcome. For Kiwis in Australia, I’m sure that the Sydney Opera House sails projecting the silver fern in solidarity with NZ would have been both heart-wrenching and poignant. On a personal level, I’ve been reminded of how wonderful my friends are. I’m sure you too heard from many friends overseas who just wanted to reach out and say they were thinking of us and wanted to check in and let us know of their love.

That said, none of that helps at this moment as I try come to grips with the enormity of last Friday. I also feel for Christchurch, just getting back on its feet and now dealing with a tragedy of this magnitude. I suppose if there is ever a positive that comes from these events, it does bind us closer together as we reach out to those affected. The love and support for Muslims around the country has been palpable and it is heartening to see that when a killer strove to instill fear and drive division, we have responded with an outpouring of love and unity. I cannot begin to imagine the pain those who were directly affected are now going through. As we go to print, there will be candlelit vigils held in Wanaka and Queenstown; this is an opportunity for us all to stand with the Muslim community in Christchurch and with all of New Zealand, to express our grief and to say that we will not let hate change the fabric of our warm and welcoming community.

David Gibbs, Commercial and Operations Manager, Lakes Weekly Bulletin

If you feel you need to talk further. 1737, Need to talk? is New Zealand’d national mental health helpline. You can call or text 1737 at any time to talk to a trained counsellor.

If you wish to donate to the families of the Christchurch Mass Shooting, all the money raised will go towards helping the families directly affected.

- David Gibbs, Commercial and Operations Manager, La
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