He Maungarongo ki te Whenua, He whakaaro pai ki ngā tāngata katoa.

Our kura is lucky to have a wonderful science teacher in our midst — she's a Fijian Indian Muslim, very tiny and supportive of our kaupapa reo. She learns a sentence of reo Māori every week and the kids cheer her efforts. Sometimes we ask her questions about her customs and we are genuinely interested in comparing different cultures.

I find her a quiet but strong work colleague who contributes to our kura kaupapa. What if she was in the mosque on that day?

Can a newspaper pull together 50 photos of those slain — so we can humanise them as regular people?

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Let's stop the derogatory comments about other cultures.

It used to be a regular sport to denigrate Māori, later the national attention was drawn to Asians, Pacific Islanders, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, strong black women, Māori activists, gays, transgenders, too-short shorts ...

Our country has institutionalised racism within its day-to-day operations — we protect white racists under the guise of "free speech" . Count how many times the same writers get access to newspapers and promote white is right, one country, one way blah, blah. If we were truly equal in this country, 80 per cent of the prison population would be Pākehā.

Our country has shot and imprisoned conscientious objectors, vilified Māori activists and frozen out people with good ideas.

This incident did not happen in a vacuum.

There are a small minority of extreme terrorists in many faiths. We should not assume that people with a different faith are godless or linked to terrorism. When we turn a blind eye to racist statements we encourage the racism to thrive. We don't need to be on a soapbox — correct the statement quietly or don't laugh. Or as people do — show the solidarity in small ways to let people know you connect with them.

Let us not give airtime to this terrorist and his twisted brain. He and his crazy counterparts can enjoy solitary confinement for 50 years. Arohanui to the victims of this atrocity. We as a country will need to make amends for the next 50 years: one year for every life lost.

HILDA HALKYARD-HARAWIRA
Pouārahi, Te Wānanga o Te Rangi Āniwaniwa

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