Tribute to the Kiwis

New Zealand is a small country, but it sure has a huge heart.

When our family first moved to New Zealand in 1999 one of the things I noticed straight away, was the incredible friendliness of the Kiwis—the ability to be a genuine friend to a stranger. People were willing to go out of their way to help, even if it meant for a business owner to send us to their competition. It was easy to be an immigrant in the welcoming, culturally diverse and safe community of Christchurch.

During the period of the devastating earthquakes starting at the end of 2010, lasting for several years, and costing 188 lives, I witnessed the community spirit soaring. Amidst the destruction and trauma, the caring, love and support neighbors gave to each other, in any way they could, was a palpable presence that surrounded Christchurch like angels wings. This unity and togetherness I believe gave everybody the strength and resilience to get through this incredibly tough time.

After the shocking and heartbreaking terrorist attack in Christchurch a week ago, I am deeply moved yet again by the spirit of the Kiwis—this time from my home in the USA. The whole nation led by Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is grieving with the Muslim community.  How better to support those that are hurting than by sharing in their grief? The country stands united in love and support, demonstrating that this horrific act was in no way a representation of its values and principles.

A single person committed a horrific act of violence, and as a result, millions unite and make a stand for love, compassion, and tolerance. Doesn’t the positive power of love seem much stronger than the negative force of hate?

Here are just a few examples of actions following the shooting that bridged the man-made divide of nationality and creed:

    • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wore the hijab while honoring the victims.
    • Talking about the migrant communities in New Zealand, PM Jacinda Ardern tweeted, “…New Zealand is their home—they are us.”
    • People of all nationalities, ages, and beliefs have been joining vigils, offering flowers and messages to pay tribute to the Christchurch mosques victims in New Zealand cities as well as across the globe.
    • $ 9m have been raised in less than a week to support the Christchurch Mosques shooting victims!
    • Here a remarkable interview with Farid Ahmed, who used to be our family Homeopath in Christchurch. Farid lost his wife in the shooting, is left with two children, uses a wheelchair and yet—he has already forgiven the perpetrator and is even praying for him! I can’t imagine anything more moving and inspiring. Farid clearly is somebody who uncompromisingly lives his life true to his faith! Click here https://bbc.in/2udebY3

I feel devastated by the tragic loss that innocent people are experiencing in this beautiful town. My heart reaches out to the Muslim community, and in my mind, I am placing flowers at the cordons of the Mosques in Christchurch.

At the same time, my heart is inspired and uplifted by the extraordinary demonstration of acceptance far greater than small-minded prejudice, a level of unity that by far surpasses any divisiveness, and a magnitude of love outshining any bigoted hate.

I love you, Kiwis! 

Back to Top