Two New Zealand universities have been approached by an international peace organisation to consider ways the world can learn from the Christchurch mosques terror attacks.

Global Council for Tolerance and Peace (GCTP) president Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Jarwan made a flying visit to New Zealand last week.

He met members of Victoria University of Wellington and University of Canterbury and discussed ways tolerance could be taught in New Zealand institutions, "from kindergarten to universities".

And he invited them to join future conferences and think-tanks on peace and tolerance.


Victoria University of Wellington Deputy Vice-Chancellor Blair McRae was "very excited" by the possibilities.

The March 15 mass-shooting has been "a bit of a wake-up call", McRae said, and shown that New Zealand is not immune to terrorism.

He was interested to pursue further discussions with the Malta-based GCTP which aims to promote the value of tolerance and culture of peace, and to "fight against discrimination, religious sectarianism, ethnocentrism and sectarian bigotry".

"We're very keen to do something with them," McRae said. He is especially interested in teaming up with other universities to share information and ideas.

While in Wellington, Al-Jarwan met Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and praised the New Zealand response to the terror attack, especially its balance between showing zero-tolerance to hate and extremism while at the same time promoting messages of peace and love.

Al-Jarwan also visited the two mosques where 50 Muslims were murdered last month.

He impressed that New Zealanders, no matter what religion or background, are able to "live in harmony".

"Coming from my country, I have this feeling that we are with the right partners and with the right people to see how we can develop a new era for spreading the culture of tolerance and peace," he said.


He travelled with UAE's ambassador to New Zealand, Saleh Ahmad Al Suwaidi, who commended Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Government as being a "role model for the world".

"We are learning from you guys," he said.

Ali Elmadani, a retired electrical engineer who emigrated from the UAE to New Zealand in 1998, was one of the 50 victims.

Six days after the terror attack, global counter-extremism expert Dubai-based Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi jetted into Christchurch to talk to survivors.

Al Nuaimi, chairman of Hedayah, an international centre that looks at countering violent extremism, said the world should take lessons from how New Zealand has handled the tragedy.

"Some of these extremists, they want to divide us, break us, but we should not let that happen. We need to speak up, as you have done here," he told the Herald.

"Although this is a crisis, there are lessons to be learned here. New Zealand, you taught the world. The world is looking and seeing how you handled this. It's a lesson that we need to learn."

He also praised Ardern's strong response, believing her message of solidarity was being heard across the world.

"We have to come together, regardless of the background, or the source, or the root of this incident," Al Nuaimi said.

"We have to work hard to get people to believe in co-existence and the common values that we have as human beings."