The emotional outpouring across the country since the horror in Christchurch has been wonderful to be a part of, and we can be justifiably proud of our leader and our nation.
The sentiments that we are one, and that the terrorist is achieving the opposite of what he presumably intended, are indeed worthy and some comfort in this difficult time.
But the hard work is not over, it is just beginning. We have heard from many quarters we need to start having those difficult conversations about our values and prejudices, and that we need to actively engage with ethnic, cultural and religious minorities and start to build bridges and find common ground.
If we want to successfully challenge someone else's prejudices, that will not happen through a top-down strategy or policy, but through thoughtful one-on-one conversations based on mutual trust and respect.
So when I hear from our leaders about a need for a Government-led "national strategy" for this, I get very uncomfortable. I shudder to think what this might look like, or what it might cost. At best, this notion is missing the point. At worst, it is falling into the same trap that arguably allowed this extremist to arise in the first place.
It misses the point because the problem is not collective, it is individual and personal. Our views, prejudices and the diversity of our relationships with others, are all individual and personal. If we want to get to know and understand Muslims and others, we need to find ways to meet one or two, through work, recreation or whatever and invest some of our own time. Palming it off to yet another working party is lazy and futile.
The dangerous trap we risk falling into though, is what some are calling "identity politics", or what you could more simply describe as "groupism". This is the idea that you view people, and treat people, according to what groups they are part of.
In a complex and fast-moving world, we constantly estimate, approximate, and generalise, to help us function effectively. We use observations and evidence to help us to reach these generalisations and rules of thumb. This helps us.
Likewise, when you meet someone you might note that they are male or female, young or old, caucasian, Asian, Pacifica or whatever, tall or short, Muslim, Sikh, Rastafarian. Observing these and many other attributes help us to understand who this person is.
But when you think about groups as having similar attributes, such as "Pacifica are musical", or "Redheads are short-tempered", or "Older people don't care enough about the planet", or for that matter "Muslims don't respect women", you are likely to treat them accordingly. Then you are getting into ugly territory.
Treating all members of a group the same means we are pre-judging each of them. This is called prejudice. It is what the shooter did.
Large organisations, especially the state, have no choice but to do this, because they are not good at individual connection and attention, and have to develop and apply broad policies for identifiable groups. And so we have Te Puni Kōkiri, a Ministry for Women, an Office of Ethnic Communities, a Ministry for Pacific Peoples, an Office for Seniors, a Children's Commissioner.
The more they impact our lives, the more the bureaucrats spread groupism and the more normalised become the politics of identity. Most of us don't question whether we need all those government bodies, but do we really? From identity politics comes prejudice and from prejudice comes hate. This is in itself a compelling argument for limiting the role of the state.
By contrast, we each have the capacity when dealing with others, to put aside whatever groups an individual might be part of, and take each fellow human being as we find them.
That is something that we can each do following the massacres. It is, in fact, the most important thing to do.
Stuart Pedersen is an investor and former economist and financial adviser, based in Mount Maunganui. He was the Act Party spokesman on finance and economics, and Tauranga candidate, in the 2017 election. These are his personal views, not necessarily those of the party.