Members of the Black Power gang, one of New Zealand’s largest Maori groups, have performed an emotional haka outside Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch following the horrific shooting on Friday which left 50 people dead and more critical in hospital.
Around ten members of the gang, which first formed in 1970, stood in front of mourners on Sunday to perform the powerful tribute in a video that has since gone viral, as people applaud the moving moment.
A gang spokesman, who chose to remain anonymous, told the Daily Telegraph that everyone was grieving in the same way – despite their colour or religion.
“Even though people call us a gang and what not, we live in this community together and it has just brought everyone together, it doesn’t matter what you wear or what colour your skin is, or what you stand for, your religion, it’s just brought everyone together like the earthquakes,” he said.
He then warned people to be wary of such terror and acts of violence, adding: “That [white power extremism] has been here for years, it’s been here for decades, every respect for a person who shows who they are but others hide behind something. Those are the people you have to be aware about and careful about because they do not express how they feel, they just blow up and something like this is the result.”
Meanwhile, as the performance moved crowds of mourners in Christchurch, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led more mourners elsewhere in the city during a visit to a refugee centre.
“New Zealand is united in grief,” she said, according to Stuff. “This is not New Zealand. The only part of the incident we have seen over the past 24 to 36 hours that is New Zealand – is the support that you are seeing now.”
And the haka in Christchurch wasn’t the only one performed in tribute, as members of a New Zealand biker gang performed another emotionally-charged routine on the Gold Coast in Australia.
This video was also flooded with comments from people sending their well wishes across to New Zealand, as one Twitter user wrote: “This is so powerful!” while another added: “Thank you, gentlemen.”
And one wrote: “The attacker thought he would divide us, but we have come together in compassion and love more strongly than ever.”
On Friday afternoon the city in the country’s south island was targeted in what has been described as a designated terrorist attack. At about 1.40pm (local time) 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 believed 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.