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

First published on The Spinoff

16 March 2019

Mass murder at mosques in Christchurch on Friday targeted Muslim New Zealanders at worship. Here are some things you can do to support a devastated community  

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.”

halal food drop to support the Muslim community is happening in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon. Food donations can be taken to Theos Fisheries on Riccarton Road between 12pm and 3pm.

Attend a vigil

“We all share the sorrow from this tragedy and urge all New Zealanders to stay calm and united,” says Ikhlaq Kashkari of the New Zealand Muslim Association. “We cannot allow these types of people to divide our community.”


In Auckland, a peace vigil will be taking place at Aotea Square on Saturday (March 16) at 2pm.

Another vigil is planned at Aotea Square next Friday (March 22) to “remember the precious lives unjustly taken from us, and in total rejection of Islamophobia and violence.”

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Bringing Light to Our Darkest Hour’ is happening at Takapuna Beach in Auckland on Saturday (March 16) 8-10pm.

St Paul’s Auckland is opening its doors from 12pm-5pm on Saturday (March 16) for the lighting of candles in prayer and remembrance.

Hamilton’s Love to Christchurch Vigil is scheduled for 8pm Saturday at Claudelands Park.

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

Haven Falls funeral home have opened their chapels in Henderson, Wellington and Whangārei “for our Muslim brothers and sisters.” There will also be a public service held at each site on Saturday March 16 at 7pm.

vigil will be held in The Square in Palmerston North at 7pm on Saturday (March 16). The city’s lantern festival will go ahead on Saturday evening, with the first 20 minutes dedicated to showing support to the Muslim community.

The Northland Indian Association is holding a candle-lit vigil at Whangārei’s Laurie Hall Park on Sunday (March 17) at 6pm.

In Wellington, Amnesty at Vic is holding a vigil in Civic Square on Thursday, March 21 from 7pm.

In Rotorua, Labour MP Tāmati Coffey is hosting a vigil at Te Papaiouru Marae in Ōhinemutu at 7pm on Saturday (March 17).


Christchurch has 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 Thursday March 21.

Nelson Race Unity Day will be on Sunday (March 17)  in Victory Square from 11am-4pm

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

The Invercargill Vigil for Peace and Solidarity is taking place Sunday (March 17) from 11am-12pm

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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 –

Follow police advice

For anyone concerned about friends and family following the Christchurch terrorist attack, New Zealand Police have asked people to call 0800 115 019.

Police also wish to notify the public of the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website where people can register missing persons or register themselves as alive. The RFL website is a tool managed by the Red Cross where the public can self-register so family and friends know they are safe.

Police are also advising not to watch or circulate the distressing footage online relating to the Christchurch attack. “We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.” Facebook is urging people to report all instances to them so their systems can block the video from being shared.

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.

Open your doors

With mosques instructed to close their doors nationwide, it’s possible many people will be looking for a place to congregate. Make like the Te Atatū Baptist church in Auckland and open your doors to people in your community, even if it’s just for a cup of tea and a chat. In Auckland, six community centres are open this weekend for people to pray, connect and grieve – Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre, New Lynn Community Centre, Ellen Melville Centre, Wesley Community Centre , Onehunga Community Centre and Te Puke O Tara Community Centre.

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Condemn racism

Call out casual racism. Report Islamophobic and xenophobic comments. Read this guide from Amnesty on how to tell someone you love they are being racist. Take action. 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.”

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.

Volunteer for The Red Cross

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.

Support Shama

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.

Volunteer to teach 

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.

This article was first published on The Spinoff, a special thank you to Toby Manhire and the Spinoff team for granting permission to reuse this article.

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