COMMENT:

Well, what a week it has been.

One none of us could have expected.

This time last week I was talking to you about the climate change protest taking place. and the thousands of students expected on the streets protesting with placards.

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Isn't that a distant memory?

Today, thousands again will be back on the streets and in squares and public places, but for a very different reason and in a country forever changed by the events of 7 days ago.

So how much have we learned in a week?

I'd like to think we now know more about Islamic culture and practices than we may have before.

That we now know where the Mosques in our communities are.

That we know the real pervasiveness of discrimination against Muslims.

That we have a heightened awareness of how much words matter.

That we can quickly and efficiently change our gun laws by way of response.

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And that hopefully attitudes will change too.

I spoke with Nigel Latta yesterday about how we return to some semblance of normality in the wake of all this.

Not without profound sadness or heartache at what's gone on, but just in the sense of picking back up our daily routines and lives.

I think he misconstrued my question.

He replied that we shouldn't return to normal, or our normal routines and that he hopes we never do.

He said our normal routine is racism and Islamaphobia that it was rampant, and we let it happen, and that we should never go back to it.

What I meant was, picking ourselves back up and moving forward.

In the same sense the Prime Minister referred to when she talked about the Imam from the Mosque and said if even he can pick himself up and keep going, so must we all.

I think if we've learned anything this week, it's about the power of inclusivity.

I think New Zealand has woken up to the fact we can do better

And I have faith in our country and the people, who I believe are, in the main, kind.

But then I don't wear a hijab - I can't profess to know what it's like to walk in others shoes.

But what I do see, is a country united in grief, united in compassion, deeply sad about what happened in Christchurch and pouring their hearts, wallets, time and words, into restoring faith in humanity.

Yes we can do better, but look at the kindness you've already seen this past week.
Look at depth of feeling and outpouring of support.

Our greatest test now of course, is that we can keep it going, and move forward carrying with us, the lessons of this past week.