Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Pouārahi, Helen Leahy, has spoken of the gracious expression of manaakitanga being demonstrated so strongly in the response of Muslim communities to the horrific attack on two Christchurch mosques last Friday.
“The moment that the terrorist entered the mosque and was greeted with a welcome, ‘hello brother’, should be etched on our memory as a marker of manaaki, of the generosity of spirit, of hospitality and respect,” said Ms Leahy.
“Over these last few days as Whānau Ora Navigators and kaimahi (workers) have gathered in support of Muslim communities across Te Waipounamu it has been moving to hear the reports of families – who in the midst of their darkest days – have taken a leap of faith in sharing stories that assist our collective learning. Stories of sacrifice, of grace and gratitude for little kindnesses shown.”
“Our mahi has been to support in the kitchens, the community centre, transport, to just be there. Whānau Ora takes as one of our key principles that wellbeing is understood in our capacity to be nurturing; in our understanding of faith as the basis for a healthy lifestyle; in the importance of participating in conversations that help.”
“What we have seen in the privilege of supporting families as they move through these harrowing first days is that the act of giving, the practice of humility, is an important foundation for mutual respect.”
“Manaakitanga is also understood in the notion of caring for one another, including those whānau for whom these events have triggered a traumatic response. We have been comforted by a focus on whakarongo (to listen well), whakatipu (to place emphasis on wellbeing); whakatika (to put right any issues which serve to divide us) and whakatā (to take the time to rest).”
“We are grateful for the blessings of clear leadership; appreciative of the rising tide of an emerging conversation about racism and cultural competency and mindful of the urgent need for unity through diversity”.
“The significance of this moment in our nation is that we hope it helps all New Zealanders to appreciate how we can express manaakitanga in all that we say and do, not just as a result of this event but in the days ahead so that the action of manaaki is an enduring legacy of hope out of the sadness of this situation”.