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After the Christchurch Massacre
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After the Christchurch Massacre





“Jacinda Ardern’s speech at Christchurch memorial”

E papaki tū ana ngā tai o maumahara ki runga o Ōtautahi.
(The tides of remembrance flow over Christchurch today.) [...]

We gather here, 14 days on from our darkest of hours. In the days that have followed the terrorist attack on the 15th of March, we have often found ourselves without words.

[…] What words capture the anguish of our Muslim community being the target of hatred and violence? What words express the grief of a city that has already known so much pain?

I thought there were none. And then I came here and was met with this simple greeting. As-salaam Alaikum. Peace be upon you.

[…] We may have left flowers, performed the haka, sung songs or simply embraced. But even when we had no words, we still heard yours, and they have left us humbled and they have left us united.

Over the past two weeks we have heard the stories of those impacted by this terrorist attack. They were stories of bravery. They were stories of those who were born here, grew up here, or who had made New Zealand their home. Who had sought refuge, or sought a better life for themselves or their families.

These stories, they now form part of our collective memories. They will remain with us forever. They are us. But with that memory comes a responsibility. 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. An assault on the freedom of any one of us who practices their faith or religion, is not welcome here. Violence, and extremism in all its forms, is not welcome here. And over the last two weeks we have shown that, you have shown that, in your actions.

[…] Our challenge now is to make the very best of us, a daily reality.

Because we are not immune to the viruses of hate, of fear, of other. We never have been. But we can be the nation that discovers the cure.

[…] We each hold the power, in our words and in our actions, in our daily acts of kindness. Let that be the legacy of the 15th of March. To be the nation we believe ourselves to be. […] And we also ask that the condemnation of violence and terrorism turns now to a collective response.

[…] We cannot confront these issues alone, none of us can. But the answer to them lies in a simple concept that is not bound by domestic borders, that isn’t based on ethnicity, power base or even forms of governance. The answer lies in our humanity.

But for now, we will remember those who have left this place. We will remember the first responders who gave so much of themselves to save others.

We will remember the tears of our nation, and the new resolve we have formed.

And we remember, that ours is a home that does not and cannot claim perfection. But we can strive to be true to the words embedded in our national anthem.

“Jacinda Ardern’s speech at Christchurch memorial”, Guardian News & Media Ltd, 2019.
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Questions

a) Why did the Prime Minister start her speech in Māori rather than English?


b) What happened in Christchurch on the 15th of March 2019?


c) How did New Zealand respond to the attack as a nation?


d) How does Jacinda Arden convey a sense of community in her speech?


e) What values does she put forward? Why does she do so?


f) According to her, what is the duty of New Zealanders after these attacks?


g) How does she express faith in the future of her country?
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