"New Zealand we love you, you are us."
That was the message from Auckland's Muslim community today, using the same words spoken by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday when she addressed the families of people killed in the mosque attacks: "You are us."
Sonny Tazeem Ali, speaking for the board of trustees of the Māngere Muslim school Al-Madinah, told about 350 guests on the school's basketball courts that the wider New Zealand community's support made a big difference.
"We feel a lot better with the support we've had throughout New Zealand," he said.
"We feel all New Zealand is standing behind us supporting us.
"Our children feel supported. You just don't know how much it means to us."
He said one person's actions were not going to change the views of Muslims in this country.
"New Zealand we love you, you are us, and we feel part of the community," he said.
Al-Madinah, a decile-2 school of 550 boys, and its neighbour the Auckland Airport Mosque, invited other Auckland schools, politicians and community leaders to remember the 50 people who died in Christchurch.
Like everyone in New Zealand's small Muslim community, the school had close connections to some of the dead.
Sarfaraz Sher Ali, a Fiji Indian imam who teaches religious studies at the school, caught a 6am flight to Christchurch on Saturday to support the injured and bereaved families.
He personally knew Hafiz Musa Patel, a Fijian imam who had only just arrived in Christchurch on a visit when he was gunned down in the mosque.
"He served the Fijian community for 30 years in Fiji," Ali said. "He was going to lead that Friday prayer."
Ali met some of the injured victims in hospital and was impressed by their "great strength".
"Some people have had to have two or three bullets removed from them. They haven't let their demeanour down, they are quite amazing."
He told the students and visitors that the school and the Kiwi Muslim community would not be broken.
He said that when the prophet Mohammed was asked what were the most important virtues, he replied, "Patience and tolerance."
"This incident has made us as a nation respected and admired all over the globe," he said. "We will always stand united as one."
Al-Madinah students, resplendent in white Muslim uniforms, performed a rousing haka and sang the national anthem in te reo Māori and English.
About 100 Air New Zealand staff from the nearby Auckland Airport, including many cabin crew in uniform, returned the favour with their own Māori songs and haka, and an emotional rendition of Hallelujah.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he hoped that the man accused of the shootings "is not given the opportunity to use the courtroom as a platform for his poisonous ideology".
"Let him sit in prison totally anonymous and denied the fame and notoriety that he sought by perpetrating this act," he said.
National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi pledged that National would play "a constructive role" in tightening gun controls.
"We should pick up this issue of how we can stop these military-style semi-automatic weapons," he said.
White balloons were released to symbolise peace as the ceremony ended.
Armed police were at the school gates throughout the ceremony and have been guarding the school, and other schools with large Muslim populations, all week. However the ceremony was peaceful and there were no incidents.