New Zealand schoolchildren perform impromptu haka in memory of friends murdered in Christchurch terror attack
The ceremonial dance has been a major part of the country coming to terms with the incident
A group of schoolchildren in Christchurch have paid tribute to two classmates murdered in Friday's terror attack with a powerful haka.
A gun attack on two mosques in the New Zealand city killed 50 people and one man, self-described Brenton Tarrant, has been arrested after filming himself carrying out the massacre and posting an anti-Islamic manifesto online.
While children were laying flowers and lighting candles for their classmates, a group began to perform the traditional dance, their emotion and energy coming across immensely in a vivid outpouring of grief.
An impromptu haka by a small group of #Christchurch schoolchildren in tribute to 2 of their murdered classmates becomes a powerful & cathartic expression of grief & anger as scores of students join the deafening chorus. #NewZeland #ChristchurchTerrorAttack pic.twitter.com/0olwX80uCC
— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) March 18, 2019
The haka has become a unique way for New Zealand and the wider region to show support for one another and cope with the loss of life. One man performed the dance alone in front of al Noor mosque, one of the two attacked on Friday.
An emotional Haka was performed on Saturday, March 16, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, where 50 died in Friday's attack on two of the city's mosques. pic.twitter.com/zopO7dW6aF
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) March 16, 2019
The same site saw a Maori biker gang pay their tribute over the weekend, the leader of the group saying afterwards: "I am here to express our love, sadness that this happened here in our community. This is all our community."
Māori people know first hand the atrocities committed by white supremacists.
May Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) bless all those who performed the Haka in solidarity with the Muslim community. pic.twitter.com/uriLUHelQ2
— Bayan (@bayan_bdg) March 17, 2019
Since the attack, calls to tighten the country's gun laws have begun to dominate conversations on how to prevent another tragedy. Tarrant was not on a police watch list and was able to purchase the firearms he used in the massacre legally.
Prime minister Jacinda Arden has promised to reform the relevant laws, especially those referring to semi-automatic weapons, within ten days.