Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
National Memorial Address for Christchurch Victims
delivered 29 March 2019, Hagley Park, Christ Church, New Zealand
E rau rangatira mā, e ngā reo, e
We gather here, 14 days on from our darkest of hours. In the days that have followed the terrorist attack on the 15th of March, we have often found ourselves without words.
What words adequately express the pain
and suffering of 50 men, women and children lost, and so many
injured? What words capture the anguish of our Muslim community
being the target of hatred and violence? What words express the
grief of a city that has already known so much pain?
They were simple words, repeated by community leaders who witnessed the loss of their friends and loved ones. Simple words, whispered by the injured from their hospital beds. Simple words, spoken by the bereaved and everyone I met who has been affected by this attack.
Asalamu Aleykum. Peace be upon you.
They were words spoken by a community
who, in the face of hate and violence, had every right to express
anger but instead opened their doors for all of us to grieve with
them. And so we say to those who have lost the most, we may not have
always had the words. We may have left flowers, performed the haka,
sung songs or simply embraced. But even when we had no words, we
still heard yours, and they have left us humbled and they have left
But with that memory comes a responsibility. A responsibility to be the place that we wish to be. A place that is diverse, that is welcoming, that is kind and compassionate. Those values represent the very best of us.
But even the ugliest of viruses can
exist in places they are not welcome.
Our challenge now is to make the very
best of us, a daily reality. Because we are not immune to the
viruses of hate, of fear, of other. We never have been. But we can
be the nation that discovers the cure.
But for now, we will remember those who have left this place. We will remember the first responders who gave so much of themselves to save others. We will remember the tears of our nation, and the new resolve we have formed. And we remember, that ours is a home that does not and cannot claim perfection. But we can strive to be true to the words embedded in our national anthem:
Original Text Source: parliament.nz
Page Updated: 3/30/19
Page Updated: 3/30/19
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