Wellington Vigil held at the Basin Reserve (Photo: Elias Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Wellington Vigil held at the Basin Reserve (Photo: Elias Rodriguez/Getty Images)

NewsMarch 16, 2019

Christchurch terror attack: How to support NZ’s Muslim communities

Wellington Vigil held at the Basin Reserve (Photo: Elias Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Wellington Vigil held at the Basin Reserve (Photo: Elias Rodriguez/Getty Images)

This Friday marks one week since 50 Muslim New Zealanders were killed at worship. Here are some things you can do to remember the lives lost and support a devastated community.

Observe a two-minute silence

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday that a two-minute silence will be observed on Friday to remember the lives lost in the Christchurch terrorist attack. “I know from many there is a desire to show support to the Muslim community as they return to mosques, particularly on Friday. There is also a desire amongst New Zealanders to mark the week that has passed since the terrorist attack.”

TVNZ and RNZ will also be broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer nationwide at 1.30pm on Friday as a show of solidarity with the Muslim community. The two-minute silence will follow at 1.32pm. 

Flowers and messages of condolence are left outside the Ponsonby mosque on March 16, 2019 in Auckland. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Visit a mosque

Several mosques in Auckland are opening their doors to all on Friday evening from 5pm-8pm. Events will be held Ponsonby Masjid, Ranui Mosque, North Shore Islamic Centre, Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq in Pakuranga and Imam Reza Mosque in New Lynn. Anyone is welcome to visit to connect with others, mourn the lives lost and hear the experiences of the Muslim community.

If you are visiting a mosque, be sure to observe protocol. Avoid walking in front of anyone who is praying, dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering. It is respectful for women to wear a headscarf, but there is no requirement to do so.

With the blessing of NZ Police and the Auckland Muslim Community Liason, NZ Stand Together is encouraging non-Muslim New Zealanders to join together at noon outside their local mosque during prayer time, the likes of which we have already seen take place this week in Christchurch and abroad in California and New York. “Let’s form a human chain of love and support around your local Mosques on Friday at noon so they can pray in peace,” the page reads.

People join arms to protect Muslims praying in a park near Al Noor mosque in Christchurch (Photo: Getty Images)

Donate to the victims and families

The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre (NZIIC) has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Launchgood 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. “No amount of money will bring back their loved ones, but we do hope to lessen their burden in some way,” says NZIIC.

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.

The Al Manar trust has launched an emergency appeal for victims of the Christchurch attack. “It is a very tragic situation in Christchurch,” the page reads. “Many of our beloved brothers and sisters were martyred. This is to offer a simple help from the community around New Zealand to support the affected families.”

Rugby player Sonny Bill Williams, who is Muslim, has partnered with MATW (Muslims Around the World) Project to raise funds for victims’ families. From the donate page, select emergency appeal.

Auckland restaurateurs Sid and Chand Sahrawat are hosting a fundraising lunch at Sid at The French Café on Sunday, April 28, with 100% of proceeds donated directly via hospitality charity DineAid to Victim Support, to help victims and  families affected by the attacks. The $250-a-head six-course tasting menu will feature a special menu curated by Sid and his teams at Sidart, Cassia and Sid at The French Café. All team members will donate their time and suppliers are also lending their support. Email info@sidatthefrenchcafe.co.nz to buy tickets.

Also, keep an eye out for eateries participating in DineAid’s month-long campaign to raise money for those affected by the attacks. Some places are asking customers to add a voluntary $2 to the bill for the table, while others are creating specials where for each dish sold, $2 is donated. 


Wear a headscarf for harmony

With the support of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand and the NZ Muslim Association, Headscarf for Harmony is inviting New Zealanders to don a headscarf or head covering this Friday to show their support for New Zealand’s Muslim communities. “I heard the story of a frightened woman hiding at home, too scared to go out onto the street as she felt her headscarf identified her as a target for terrorism,” event organiser Thaya Ashman told Stuff. “I wanted to say ‘we are with you, we want you to feel at home on your own streets, we love, support and respect you’.”

Send a message

A national condolence book has been opened for people to share messages of support to the families of the victims. “While it is a small action, the condolence book offers an opportunity for New Zealanders to unite and express our opposition to hate and state our commitment to the values of love and compassion,” said prime minster Jacinda Ardern. It is available at the National Library on Molesworth Street, Wellington, for people to sign.

The people at Sending Love, who send Christmas cards to people who might not receive any, have also opened their PO Box for people to send cards to the families of the victims in Christchurch (PO Box 90701, Victoria Street, Auckland 1142). “It can be very hard to know where to start with a message to a stranger,” the page advises. “My advice is take words from your heart, be genuine, show empathy and be you.”

In Auckland, Heart of the City is encouraging people to leave tributes to those affected by the attacks on a blank hoarding outside 1 Queen St.

Attend a vigil


Following Saturday afternoon’s vigil at Aotea Square in Auckland, two more events are happening in the same location in the coming week. A vigil in the Domain is planned for Friday (March 22) to “remember the precious lives unjustly taken from us, and in total rejection of Islamophobia and violence”, and on Sunday (March 24) at 2pm, Kia Kaha Aotearoa: Stand Against Racism is standing up against all forms of racism and Islamophobia in Aotearoa.

In Kāpiti, a vigil is being held at 7pm on Friday (March 22) at Zeal in Paraparaumu.


Nelson Islamic Cultural Society will hold a gathering at their mosque at 320 Hardy St on Friday (March 22) at 12.30, where all can hold hands to show solidarity in prayer. Race Unity Day has been postponed until next Sunday (March 24).

North Hagley Park in Christchurch is the venue for a vigil to “remember those who lost their lives in the mosque attacks in Christchurch on 15-3-19 and show that hate can’t divide us” on Sunday (March 24).

Dunedin has a vigil planned for Thursday (March 21) in the Octagon hosted by Amnesty Otago.


In Wellington, thousands attended a vigil on Sunday evening (March 17) at the Basin Reserve.

Also in Wellington, the vigil in Civic Square organised by Amnesty at Vic scheduled for Thursday has now been postponed.

City on a Hill Evangelical Church in Wellington held a service on Sunday morning (March 17) at St Mark’s Church School for reflection, prayer and hope in response to the Christchurch attacks.

On Waiheke Island, Auckland, a vigil was held on Wednesday (March 20), 6:30-8pm at Oneroa Beach. “Bring some flowers from your garden, gather, come together and remember. Nau mai, haere me.”

In Te Puke, a vigil was held in Jubilee Park on Sunday (March 17) at 6.30pm. “Please come forward to get involved,” the event page read. “We welcome speakers and help from all groups.”

The Gisborne Anglican Parish invited people of all faiths to stand with the Muslim community in the Holy Trinity Church on Sunday (March 17).

Toko Toru Tapu Church in Manutuke near Gisborne hosted a candlelit vigil and service Sunday (March 17) from 7-8pm. All welcome.

In Hastings, Ngāti Kahungunu organised a public prayer session for Sunday (March 17) at Waipatu Marae. “Nau mai haere mai,” the iwi said. “Come along and join in prayer for our Christchurch people who are suffering.”

The Northland Indian Association held a candle-lit vigil at Whangārei’s Laurie Hall Park on Sunday evening (March 17).

On Sunday evening (March 17), a vigil was held at Crave cafe in Morningside, Auckland. Attendees brought flowers or plants to be made into a communal bouquet.

In Auckland, thousands attended a vigil in Aotea Square on Saturday afternoon (March 16).

An information centre was held at the Peace Place, 22 Emily Place, Auckland on Wednesday and Thursday (March 20 and 21). A place for people to grieve, pray, talk, share, learn and get involved in action. More details including times here.

Bringing Light to Our Darkest Hour’ was held at Takapuna Beach in Auckland on Saturday night (March 16).

On Tuesday (March 19) a vigil was held at Centre Park in Māngere, Auckland, to honour the terror attack victims and their families, and to stand in solidarity with our Muslim whānau. Details including schedule of events here.

Haven Falls funeral homes held public services at their chapels in Henderson, Wellington and Whangārei on Saturday evening (March 16). The chapels remain open “for our Muslim brothers and sisters”.

Hamilton’s Love to Christchurch Vigil was held on Saturday night (March 16) at Claudelands Park.

In Rotorua, Labour MP Tāmati Coffey hosted a vigil at Te Papaiouru Marae in Ōhinemutu on Saturday night (March 16).

In the Bay of Plenty, a vigil was held on Saturday night (March 17) on Mount Maunganui’s Main Beach in front of Moturiki (Leisure Island).

A vigil was held in The Square in Palmerston North on Saturday night (March 16). The city’s lantern festival went ahead on Saturday evening, with the first 20 minutes dedicated to showing support to the Muslim community.

In Nelson, people were invited to mourn at noon on the Cathedral Steps on Sunday (March 17).

In Timaru, a vigil was held on Sunday (March 17) at 1.30 pm on the beach in front of the Caroline Bay beach lookout.

Central Otago residents were invited to a vigil at the Clyde Railway Station on Sunday (March 17) at 1pm.

The Invercargill Vigil for Peace and Solidarity took place on Sunday (March 17) from 11am-12pm.

In Chicago, a vigil in response to the Christchurch attacks was held on Sunday at 1.30pm local time at the Daley Plaza. Details here.

A vigil was held in Abu Dhabi at 7pm local time on Sunday (March 17). Details here.

A vigil for those affected by the attacks was held in Berlin at 5pm local time on Sunday (March 17). Details here.

A halal food drop to support the Muslim community took place in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon. 

In Hastings, the mayor and community held a civic service at 1pm on Monday (March 18), beneath the town clock.

St-Matthew-in-the-City in central Auckland hosted a vigil for the victims of the attacks on Monday (March 18) from 5pm-8pm.

In Hamilton, an interfaith service in cooperation with the Hamilton Muslim Society took place on Monday (March 18) from 7-8pm at the David O McKay building, Tuhikaramea Rd, Temple View.

In Wairarapa, a vigil was held at 6pm on Monday evening (March 18) in the square outside the Masterton Town Hall.

There was a vigil in Mosgiel from 7pm on Monday (March 18) at Memorial Park, Hartstonge Ave.

A vigil was held in Melbourne outside the State Library of Victoria on Monday (March 18) at 6.30pm local time. Details here.

In Canberra, the ANU New Zealand Club hosted a solidarity vigil on Tuesday (March 19) at 6.00pm local time in the Nara Canberra Peace Park.

A candlelit vigil took place at English Bay in Vancouver on Thursday March 21 at sunset (7.25pm local time).

Please keep an eye on the pages for updates; some details may change. Let us know if there is a vigil happening in your area and we’ll include it – info@thespinoff.co.nz

Do you have photos from a vigil or other remembrance event you’d like to share? Email us and we’ll publish a selection in the coming days. Please include photographer credit.

Sign a petition

The tragic events of last Friday have highlighted many important issues that face our society. Angry that we haven’t had a race relations commissioner for nine months? Sign the petition here to have one urgently appointed. Want to crack a virtual egg on the head of Senator Fraser Anning? Sign this petition to have him removed from Australian parliament.

Share support helplines

The Aotearoa Resettled Community Coalition has set up a number of support lines run by multilingual volunteers in Christchurch. You can find them all here. “The events of today in Christchurch are distressing,” wrote the Canterbury District Health Board on Facebook. “If you or someone you know needs mental wellbeing support or advice then call or text 1737 any time day or night to talk to a trained counsellor.” This page has also been set up to republish messages of support for the Muslim community in New Zealand.

Diversity Counselling New Zealand is a charitable organisation based in Hamilton that provides professional counselling services for migrants and former refugees in various languages. All their ethnic counsellors are professionally registered. Phone 021 026 25587.

Condemn racism

Continue to call out casual racism. Report Islamophobic and xenophobic comments on social media to the platforms themselves and to Netsafe. Read this guide from Amnesty on how to tell someone you love they are being racist. Take action in your community. Aro Against Racism Ōtautahi has been set up following the attacks to fight racism through positive action and kōrero. “We believe that only through actively dismantling the parts of our culture which oppress people of colour can we truly move toward a city and world without racism.”

Mural by Paul Walsh at Avondale Art Park paying tribute to Naeem Rashid who tried to stop the gunman at Deans Ave Mosque. Neither he or his son survived the attack. (Photo: Paul Walsh via Facebook)

Donate to Shakti

Shakti is a non-profit organisation serving migrant and refugee women. Shakti, meaning strength, works to end all forms of violence and discrimination against women of colour. It supports women to overcome the barriers that come with migration and intergenerational bonds of cultural oppression.


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.  

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 to help someone with a refugee background get their driver’s licence through the Open Road programme, which runs nationwide, or through Turning the Curve in Wellington, which is run by ChangeMakers Refugee Forum and focuses on empowering women. They’re looking for female volunteers aged over 25 who can take drivers out twice a week for one hour. Full training and support are provided for volunteers.

In Hamilton, the Shama Ethnic Women’s Centre Trust is a social service agency providing support, advocacy, and programmes in order to empower all ethnic women, their children and their families. You can apply to volunteer in a range of roles, and they also accept donations of resources and money.

Volunteering group Collaborate has set up a Facebook group to connect people who want to support the Muslim community and those affected in Christchurch with volunteer opportunities.

If we’ve missed something, please let us know: info@thespinoff.co.nz

Keep going!