"We are determined to make sure everybody who is in New Zealand is welcome here, is protected here, and is safe here."
Those were the words of Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy who was guest at Kāpiti College on this national day of reflection, one week after the terrorism attack on mosques in Christchurch.
She was welcomed with a powhiri before the singing of Te Aroha, a moment of silence and reflection, before a rousing student haka.
The college as well Paraparaumu College and Ōtaki College performed a simultaneous haka in defiance of the attack, during commemoration ceremonies this afternoon.
Dame Patsy said New Zealand would never be the same, in the wake of the terrorist attack, and there was a scar on the country.
"But what has come out of it, and we've seen it in the last seven days, and it will grow, is a determination to remember that we must be one people.
"We come from many different countries, many different cultures, many different religions, but we are one people, we are New Zealanders, we are kiwi.
"This terrible tragedy happened to some of the more vulnerable people in our community, many of them refugees, recent refugees, others very new New Zealanders who don't know enough yet about our way of life but who came here determined to make a better future for themselves in a peaceful environment.
"It's up to us all to make sure that everybody has that environment.
"So remember today, and remember last week, but from now go forward and remember to understand your neighbours, to understand your fellow school mates, not just tolerate them, but to understand them, to share with them, and to bring them into our fold, our safety net, of New Zealand."
Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan said the call went out from Kāpiti around the county to let "a 1000 haka resound against the attack".
"The spirit of the people have spoken.
"Our ground has been sacrileged by an outside influence.
"We need to say we are kiwis, we are New Zealanders, we are one, we shall not be terrorised."