Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison among estimated 20,000 attending national remembrance service near site of attacks
- ‘Racism is not welcome here’ – Ardern’s speech in full
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern was greeted with a standing ovation as she took the stage to address a crowd of thousands gathered at Hagley Park for a nationwide remembrance service in honour of 50 people killed in the country’s worst terrorist attack.
“The world has been stuck in a vicious cycle of extremism breeding extremism and it must end,” she said. “We cannot confront these issues alone, none of us can … The answer lies in our humanity. But for now we will remember the tears of our nation and the new resolve we have formed.”
“We each hold the power – in our words, in our actions, in our daily acts of kindness – let that be the legacy of the 15th of March,” Ardern said.
She said to applause that New Zealanders had: “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.”
The service, known as Ko Tātou, Tātou We Are One, was broadcast live to many other events taking place around the country, to commemorate those who died two weeks ago when a gunman stormed two mosques in central Christchurch.