Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk
Hundreds of Auckland mourners shared prayers and tears today for those who lost their lives in New Zealand’s double mosque attack on Friday in an ecumenical service in Ponsonby’s Sacred Heart Church.
The mourners included Asians, Māori, Pakeha and Pacific Islanders as well as many people of Muslim faith.
Then the mourners crossed Vermont Street to the Ponsonby Mosque and shared their grief in a colourful, floral but subdued and respectful ceremony.
Catholic bishop of Auckland Patrick Dunn led the way across the street carrying a wreath of flowers.
Many speakers from several religions vowed that the massacre on Friday that has left 50 people dead, including a young child, would not divide the country. On the contrary, it would strengthen a united resolve.
Meanwhile, RNZ reports that Police Commissioner Mike Bush said today a heavy police presence around the country tomorrow will ensure New Zealanders’ safety after the terror attacks.
At a press conference in Wellington, Bush reiterated Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s statement that victims’ bodies would begin to be returned to their families this evening, a process that would hopefully be completed by Wednesday.
“We have in excess of 200 police staff [in Christchurch] doing a number of roles.
“We have medical forensic staff, highly trained police staff, all working to enable the chief coroner to have this process commenced and completed as soon as possible out of respect for their loved ones.”
He said he was working with top police on deployment, “to deploy them in a way that allows people to feel safe to go about their business”.