Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called for ‘acceptance’ and expressed the government’s solitude for the victims of the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan community residing in New Zealand.

“We are here to share our solitude towards the Sri Lankan community, both here and in Sri Lanka, for they have suffered the atrocities of hatred at their places of worship,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the community event for the Sri Lankan community at the Balmoral Community Hall.

“The challenges that we are facing is not local; its global and we stand against all form of terrorism, violence and intolerance,” PM Ardern said.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of the Ethnic Communities and MP for Mt Roskill Michael Wood hosted a multi-ethnic forum and interfaith gathering on Saturday, May 7 to show solidarity to Auckland’s diverse Sri Lankan community in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan massacres on Easter Sunday last month.

Representatives from different faiths spoke against the vile attack in the name of religion and condemned the act of terrorism against innocent worshippers in Sri Lanka.

Venerable Walgama Revatha from the Sri Lankaramaya Buddhist Temple, Acharya Upendra Bhai Joshi from Bhartiya Mandir, Father Algamage Don Jude Anthony from Catholic faith, Reverend Bruce Keely from the Holy Trinity cathedral representing the Anglican Church, Dr Sydney Fernando from the Methodist Church and Ikhlaq Kashkari from the New Zealand Muslim Association spoke at the event.

The representatives of the different faiths made their respective religious chants and prayers in their speech asking for peace not just for the victims of the terror attacks but also for all the communities living and coexisting in different parts of the world.

Minister for Ethnic Community Jenny Salesa, MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan, MP Deborah Russel, Consul of India Bhav Dhillon, representatives of different community organisations and people from the Sri Lankan community attended the event.

A Sri Lankan music band also played a musical interlude at the event followed by a short speech on safety by District Commander Karyn Malthus representing NZ Police at the event.

Commander Karyn Malthus encouraged the audience to report incidents of intolerance and racism and raise voice against injustice happening around them. MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan concluded the event acknowledging the contributions of the Sri Lankan community in New Zealand and expressed her grief and support at their time of distress. The guests and visitors were invited to light candles for the fallen souls and write their messages of love and peace for the victims of the terrorist attack.