Prayers for massacre victims

Thursday 11 April 2019 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in National


A prayer service will be held this Sunday in remembrance of the Christchurch shooting victims and their families, prime minister Henry Puna announced in Parliament on Tuesday.

The massacre - described as a terrorist attack - killed 50 people and injured 50 others at two mosques last month.

Puna asked the people of the Cook Islands to come together as a nation and remember and pray for God’s healing on the families of the victims, their communities and New Zealand as a whole.

The prayer service will be held at 6pm at the National Auditorium. Bishop Donoghue from the Catholic Diocese of the Cook Island will lead this religious congregation.

PM Puna along with his wife Akaiti and Cook Islands High Commissioner to

New Zealand Elizabeth Wright-Koteka attended the day of remembrance for the shooting victims in Christchurch on March 22.

“It was humbling to be invited to the day of remembrance in Christchurch … to demonstrate solidarity as we understood the necessity for our presence and not just words of comfort, in times such as these. Our presence to clearly demonstrate that ‘we are one’ – ‘Ko tatou tatou’,” Puna said.

“We stand in solidarity with New Zealand in condemning in the strongest possible terms these horrific attacks.

“Our most sincere prayers and thoughts go to those of the Islamic faith and in particular the families and friends of the victims of this shocking and callous attack.”

PM Puna also commended the decisive leadership of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and her sincere empathy and area towards the victims, the victims’ families, their community and the people of New Zealand.

“Prime minister Ardern rose above any attempt to besmirch the good name of the people of New Zealand and the eternal values of brotherhood and fraternity, captured in New Zealand's national anthem calling for God's defence from dissension, envy and hate and for God's blessing on men of every creed and race.

“We take this time also to acknowledge the strength and resolve of the people of New Zealand, and we stand with them in that they are not us, in reference to the perpetrators of this heinous crime, and neither should their dark shadow be allowed to dim the light of the many good and decent citizens of New Zealand and their government.

“I am certain that as this honourable House meets for the first time since that tragic day, we wish to affirm our steadfastness as a fellow member of the Realm of New Zealand, tied together by historic links that we will stand with them, side by side.”