A sea of cellphones waving back and forth to Dave Dobbyn singing Welcome Home was a fitting start to tonight's Christchurch benefit event You Are Us/Aroha Nui.

Dobbyn opened the show at Auckland's Spark Arena and the 12,000 strong crowd were quick to get behind the cause.

He posted a short clip of the song to Facebook saying, "Look at these 12,000 lovely people. See what you have done for Christchurch."

Look at these 12,000 lovely people. See what you have done for Christchurch.

Posted by Dave Dobbyn on Saturday, 13 April 2019

One concert goer tweeted her approval for the first song of the night. "I don't think there could have been a more fitting song than Dave Dobbyn's 'Welcome Home' to open for the #YouAreUs concert."

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Stan Walker also moved the crowd with what one fan described as an "emotional" rendition of Amazing Grace.

The sold-out event, which boasts a star-studded line-up, started at 6pm.

Acts taking the stage include Anika Moa, Bic Runga, Dave Dobbyn and Marlon Williams.

A second event, with a slightly different lineup, is happening in Christchurch on Wednesday evening.

Singer-songwriter Lorde is performing at the Christchurch event, but couldn't make tonight's show.

Proceeds from both events will go to Lianne Dalziel's Our People, Our City fund, established to help raise money to support the families and Muslim communities impacted by the Christchurch shooting.

Anika Moa is also on tonight's star-studded lineup. Photo / Supplied
Anika Moa is also on tonight's star-studded lineup. Photo / Supplied

Promoter Brent Eccles worked together with Mark Kneebone, from Live Nation, to make the two charity gigs happen.

Eccles said inspiration largely came from the artists. Many had approached him directly, asking what they could do to help.

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He received a text from Lorde some time after the two shows were announced.

"She said, 'Hey, I can't do Auckland but I can come back and do Christchurch'," Eccles recalls.

"I was like really? Really?! Okay - yeah!"

Both the Auckland and Christchurch events will be hosted by comedian and mental health advocate Mike King.

Eccles said Spark Arena would have a high level of security.

Both shows would open with collaborative performances, Eccles said.

He also expected some impromptu collaboration between acts throughout the night.

"A band like Shihad will be playing Shihad songs, same with a band like Six60."

"But you never know who's going to jump up and join - that could happen too as the night goes on."

Tickets to the Christchurch event were still available via Ticketek.

Those wanting to catch a glimpse of the Christchurch event on the small screen will be also able to tune in on TV3 - where it will be broadcast live.

Brent Eccles from Eccles Entertainment said the inspiration for the concerts mostly came from the artists involved. Photo / File
Brent Eccles from Eccles Entertainment said the inspiration for the concerts mostly came from the artists involved. Photo / File