Hero photograph
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks with the community
Photo by Mike Fowler

Supporting Our Community after 15 March

Mike Fowler —

Ethnic communities see Hagley as their place, which was clear over three days when Hagley acted as a welfare centre for those impacted by the 15 March terrorism attacks.

Our role was a practical one. About 50 staff acted as hosts to support the work of multiple agencies and services in their work with the Muslim community: Police, Red Cross, Emergency Response Teams, Civil Defence, Health, ACC and the City Council.

Thousands of people came through our student centre and surrounding buildings and were supported.  This  involved providing spaces for prayer, for meeting with agencies, for storing the huge number of food donations, meals for hundreds of people, as well as spaces for the community to connect with each other.

Hagley did not open on Monday 18 March due to our welfare centre role. It is so affirming to see how caring and thoughtful our students were as they returned to school on Tuesday. They continued to show what it means to be inclusive and support all people at this diverse and unique school. Hagley is home to 65 ethnicities in Christchurch. We reaffirm our continuing commitment to celebrate diversity and to embrace diverse ethnic communities as a vital part of learning, as we have done for over 30 years.

Our Muslim community has been rocked and their courage, resiliency and sense of hope severely tested. We've witnessed their strength, expressions of grief and love as they came together to support one another. Of course, a central focus has been and continues to be on our Muslim community – but it is also on all of us, as we all go through our own processes of drawing strength and moving forward from this terrible event. Please ask for any assistance you need from our counselling team at Simpson House.