In a week that would have divided most countries, following such a horrific act of terror, we saw nothing but aroha.
Overcome with feelings of grief, shock and shame, what surprised me the most was my capacity to feel pride, love and hope at the same time. Pride in our community and country, and our outright rejection of hate, pride in our leadership, and a Prime Minister who was the vision of authentic and respectful humanity and pride in our muslim community for their strength and ability to love and show gratitude after the most heinous attack on their community. Love for every human being in our country that made us the very reason we were targeted, love for each beautiful face that flashed up time and time again on our screens, love for the families and friends they left behind, and love for my family and friends who I’m more grateful for than ever before. Hope for what the future might be in our country and the example that we have (and can) set, hope for the muslim people around the world that this might be a catalyst for change, hope for my child that she will grow up in an awakened country that actively choses better and hope for myself that I will be and do better because of this. Humanity is a powerful thing. Proof of how profound it can be has been on display around New Zealand since we lost 50 of our own. It can change lives, it can change politics, it can change communities, it can change everything. We just have to chose it.
As the grief, shock an shame eases, we need to actively hold onto the valuable lesson and gift this attack has given us. Keep your humanity at the surface ready to show love, feel pride and enable hope. Kia kaha New Zealand, I am so proud of you.