Te Awamutu locals were positive and supportive of a recent initiative aimed at answering their questions and misconceptions about Islam.
As a part of the nationwide Meet Your Muslim Neighbour initiative, Discover Islam New Zealand hit the streets of Te Awamutu.
The initiative focused on creating a safe and open space for locals to connect and have their questions addressed about Islam.
Discover Islam NZ manager, Imam Sabah Al-Zafar says their interactions in Te Awamutu were positive.
Sabah, alongside Mirza Sarfaraz, Usman Ahmad and Asad Shehzard had discussions with locals on a wide range of topics.
They were stationed at Robert Harris Coffee shop and out on Arawata St.
"Some people were asking about the Islamic faith and some showed solidarity for the Christchurch mosque attacks that happened," says Sabah.
Other times questions were unexpected but light-hearted.
"I remember someone asking what do you like for breakfast? Or whether I watched rugby or cricket? Because our motive was literally to talk about anything," Sabah says.
Having those mundane conversations were important to break people's preconceived ideas about Muslims, Sabah says.
The motivation behind Meet Your Muslim Neighbour was due to a study done in 2017 that claimed that people who read the news were more likely to be anti-Islam.
Sabah says the Meet Your Muslim Neighbour movement helped bridge the gap between the negative media portrayal of Muslims and the truth of Islam.
"It's our purpose to build a more understanding and humble society. We are all human beings and we all have fundamental rights, values and wishes," says Sabah.
During their visit to Te Awamutu, Discover Islam NZ met up with National MP Barbara Kuriger and Waipā Mayor Jim Mylchreest.
It was important for Discover Islam NZ to get high-profile community leaders involved to raise public awareness.
"They really appreciated and supported what we were doing. They said it takes a lot of courage to be out in the public," Sabah says.
The Meet Your Muslim Neighbour initiative also visited Hamilton, Auckland, Raglan, Morrinsville and Matamata.
The nationwide campaign will continue to travel to various towns and cities across the country. Next on their agenda is Tauranga.