Hurihia to aroaro kit e ta tukuna to atarangi kia taka ki muri i a koe.
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. – Maori proverb.
As my wife Rach and I awoke this morning in Los Angeles and began scrolling through the news and social posts from home in New Zealand, we cried. We cried for the victims and their families in Christchurch. We cried for Christchurch. We cried for New Zealand. We cried for what this means for our proud, little, peace-loving paradise in the South Pacific. It was simply shocking to wake up to this unprecedented violence. We gave each other and the kids an extra hug and proceeded to reach out to folks in Christchurch. New Zealand will never be the same and we pray Kia Kaha (stay strong) for our Whanau (family) in New Zealand.
Our hearts are broken for our people suffering through this unimaginable loss.
We live on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in a place where we’ve woken up to news like this before, but, somehow, because it is New Zealand, it feels different. This is just not who we are – many Kiwis feel this way. The dawning realization that no place, no person, anywhere on the planet is immune from this evil is deeply troubling and incredibly sad. I thought this was something that only happened in other places. I am glad that New Zealand media is resisting publishing the manifesto of the perpetrator of this heinous act. We already know the name and the face. The name of the perpetrator is “evil,” its face “hate.” I have no doubt that Kiwis everywhere will come together over this and will act, will love and look after all those affected. However, this event will forever impact our history as a nation.
In our modern, interconnected world, we communicate across borders with speed and ease. While there are many benefits, there are also drawbacks. The misinformation and hateful lies that grow on the internet must be halted. For peace, the perpetrators of hate must be found and brought to justice alongside those who perpetrate the acts themselves.
May our tears drive us to act. We must grieve well and we must love, but we must also act.
We stand for Aroha (Love). We will come together. We will act. We will love and keep loving.
We’d be so grateful if you’d like to donate to help the victims in Christchurch here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/christchurch-shooting-victims-fund
Aroha mai, aroha atu: Love towards us, love going out from us,
Strahan Wallis is the (Kiwi) Porter Novelli Managing Director for Southern California and former managing director of Porter Novelli New Zealand.