Prime Minister’s speech at the National Remembrance Service

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Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister
MP for Mt
Albert

29 March 2019

SPEECH NOTES

E rau
rangatira mā, e ngā reo, e ngā mana

Tēnā koutou
katoa

(I acknowledge amongst us today our distinguished
leaders, speakers and those who bear authority)

Ngāi
Tahu Whānui, tēnā koutou

(My greetings to the whole of
Ngāi Tahu)

E papaki tū ana ngā tai o maumahara ki
runga o Ōtautahi

(The tides of remembrance flow over
Christchurch today)

Haere mai tātou me te
aroha,

(So let us gather with love)

Me te
rangimārie, ki te whānau nei,

(In peace, for this
family)

E ora mārire ai anō rātau,

(So that they
may truly live again)

E ora mārire ai anō, tātou
katoa.

(So that we all may truly live again)

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?

I thought there were none. And then I came here
and was met with this simple greeting.

Asalamu
Aleykum. Peace be upon you.

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 us united.

Over the past two weeks we have heard
the stories of those impacted by this terrorist attack.

They were stories of bravery.

They were stories of
those who were born here, grew up here, or who had made New
Zealand their home.

Who had sought refuge, or sought a
better life for themselves or their families.

These
stories, they now form part of our collective memories.

They will remain with us forever.

They are us.

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.

Racism exists, but it is
not welcome here.

An assault on the freedom of any one
of us who practices their faith or religion, is not welcome
here.

Violence, and extremism in all its forms, is not
welcome here.

And over the last two weeks we have
shown that, you have shown that, in your actions.

From
the thousands at vigils to the 95 year old man who took four
buses to attend a rally because he couldn’t sleep from the
sadness of seeing the hurt and suffering of others.

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.

And so to
each of us as we go from here, we have work to do, but do
not leave the job of combatting hate to the Government
alone.

We each hold the power, in our words and in our
actions, in our daily acts of kindness. Let that be the
legacy of the 15th of March.

To be the nation we
believe ourselves to be.

To the global community who
have joined us today, who reached out to embrace New
Zealand, and our Muslim community, to all of those who have
gathered here today, we say thank you.

And we also ask
that the condemnation of violence and terrorism turns now to
a collective response. The world has been stuck in a vicious
cycle of extremism breeding extremism and it must end.

We cannot confront these issues alone, none of us can.
But the answer to them lies in a simple concept that is not
bound by domestic borders, that isn’t based on ethnicity,
power base or even forms of governance.

The answer
lies in our humanity.

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

Men of every creed and race,

Gather
here before Thy face,

Asking Thee to bless this
place

God defend our free land

From dissension,
envy, hate

And corruption, guard our state

Make our
country good and great

God Defend New Zealand

Tātou
Tātou

Asalamu
Aleykum

ends

© Scoop Media

 



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