This is an emergency blog to express my dismay at the Mosque attacks in Christchurch by white supremacists. Part of me doesn’t want to believe it because the New Zealand people I know and love are so far removed from this hate. Just look at the example of the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership in the days following the attacks.
These fellas were hanging out in St Heliers on my last visit. Chillin’. This is what I believe better represents the Kiwi spirit.
I heard people make racist remarks in bars and in unguarded moments–made by much older people and never with any intent to do physical harm. I’d heard worse in the US, but as we witness in the United States, these attitudes are pernicious and difficult to change without real effort by everyone in society: education, neighbors, political and business leaders.
One of my favorite memories of New Zealand was in the community hall in St Heliers. They adopted the USA for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the town was festooned in stars and stripes. The village hosted a celebration with the US Consulate and everyone was invited. A young woman sang the New Zealand national anthem and it was the first time I’d really listened to the words. I was so moved. It summed up the complicated beautiful people that I met throughout the North and South Islands. It is always sung in both English and Maori before the rugby test matches. Tonight I am saying it as a prayer for Aotearoa.
|English “God Defend New Zealand”||Māori “Aotearoa”||Māori “Aotearoa” translated|
1. God of Nations at Thy feet,
2. Men of every creed and race,
3. Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
4. Let our love for Thee increase,
5. May our mountains ever be
1. E Ihowā Atua,
2. Ōna mano tāngata
3. Tōna mana kia tū!
4. Waiho tona takiwā
5. Tōna pai me toitū
1. O Lord, God,
2. Let all people,
3. May it be forever prestigious,
4. Let its territory
5. Let its good features endure,