In line with Fiji Prime Minister the Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama’s  statement on 16 March 2019 in response to the terrorist attack in Christchurch, His Excellency Mr Filimone Waqabaca, Fiji’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, His Excellency Mr Luke Daunivalu, Fiji’s High Commissioner to Australia and Mr Zarak Khan, Fiji’s Consul General & Trade Commissioner to Australia & New Zealand along with all staff from our respective missions in Australia and New Zealand extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the families, friends and loved ones of the innocent people who have tragically lost their lives after the terrorist attack that unfolded in Christchurch last Friday.

 

As news of the shooting broke on Friday afternoon, it already felt close to home –– many of us have friends and family in New Zealand, and the close relationship between Fiji & New Zealand goes beyond traditional diplomacy. But this surreal news event quickly turned to reality, as our friends and neighbours learned through that Fijians were present during the attacks. Soon, we found that Fijians were among the 50 Muslim worshippers who were so brutally slaughtered –– making this heartbreaking tragedy even more personal for our nation. The Fiji High Commission in New Zealand is working diligently with the relevant authorities to review this information and provide urgent support and assistance to affected communities in Christchurch.

 

Let us never forget our fallen Fijians, nor our brothers and sisters in New Zealand. To their families, you have the support of not just your fellow Fijians and of Kiwis, but people from all around the world who are holding similar vigils to honour the innocent men, women and children who lost their lives. We are with you.

 

Acts of terror and terrorism, by their very nature, are meant to instill fear into the hearts of those groups who are targeted. As difficult as it may be, try not to let these acts of hatred intimidate you; that was the goal of the coward who committed these crimes. To our Muslim community, I say this: You are safe, and you are loved.

 

All too often, after a hate-filled act, we describe the crimes as “unspeakable.” But while this shooting in Christchurch is unfathomable in both its scale and in the monstrous nature it was committed, it is not unspeakable. Staying silent, and not speaking up, would be an injustice to the victims and to all of humanity.

 

We must speak up, and in light of New Zealand’s darkest day, our voice must be louder than ever. We must recognize that this type of hatred does exist in the world, and we must root it out wherever it lies. We must be aware that acts of extreme violence often begin in the form of hateful words and divisive ways of thinking.

 

We join the Hon Prime Minister in calling on all Fijians across all backgrounds and faiths to join us in making this pledge: Whenever you encounter someone who says something racist and hateful, whether it is online or in person, say something. Do something. Have the courage to call them out, and counter their hatred with reason. Be the voice of love. Be the voice of change. Only then will our world be rid of the evil that inspired the massacre in Christchurch.

 

May we all forever keep the victims in our hearts, and may their families find some peace in the embrace that the world has shown in our outpouring of compassion – Kia kaha

 

God bless.

 

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For Fijians in Christchurch who are in urgent need of support or information please contact Ms Maraia Vakasilimiratu, First Secretary at the Fiji High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand on email: maraia.fhcnz@gmail.com or phone: +64 4-473 5401

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