Communities across New Zealand and the world are coming together following last week’s Christchurch mosque attacks that left 50 people dead. In one of the most powerful tributes to date, students from Christchurch Girls’ High School and Christchurch Boys’ High School have joined forces to show their support for the victims and their families of the deadly attacks.
A clip shared on Facebook by photographer Rami Bahaeldin shows students from Christchurch Girls’ High School performing a traditional song on Hagley College in Christchurch city. One member of the Muslim community can be seen hugging one of the girls, clearly moved by the performance.
Students from Christchurch Boys’ High School then perform the haka in a part of the city that has become a place for families and locals to pray and grieve together. The haka is a traditional war cry or challenge in Māori culture, but in modern times it’s also performed on meaningful occasions. It’s one of the highest honours in Māori culture.
Following the haka, the students can be seen hugging members of the Muslim community, who are visibly touched by the performance. At one point, one student is so overwhelmed with emotion that he begins to cry.
“Brothers and sisters, this is New Zealand at its absolute finest,” Bahaeldin said of the students’ tribute to the victims. “Traffic on Hagley Ave came to a standstill this afternoon as students from both Christchurch Girls’ High School and Christchurch Boys’ High School performed a moving tribute to show their love and support for the united community of Christchurch and New Zealand.”
It followed a haka performance by members of the Black Power gang, one of New Zealand’s largest Maori groups on Sunday. The gang gathered outside Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch to perform the powerful tribute to mourners.
Meanwhile, tributes have also poured in from Australia, with members of a New Zealand biker gang performing another emotionally-charged routine on the Gold Coast.
Christchurch was rocked on Friday when a gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire, before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque.
A bomb was also found in a car on Strickland Street about 4 kilometres from the Al Noor Mosque. Four people were arrested, but only a 28-year-old Australian man has been charged with murder.
The gunman is thought to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed eight more people. One person died later in a hospital.
Meanwhile, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arder has penned an emotional handwritten note for victims of the massacre. Writing in a national condolence book, the PM said: “On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us. Tatau Tātau.”
Tatau Tātau in Maori language means, ‘we, you’.