The umbrella body of the Muslim community in New Zealand FIANZ has proposed a memorial to honour the victims of the March 15 Christchurch Mosque attack and the response received by the New Zealanders.
The concept plan for the memorial is designed on Maori Pikorua figure-of-eight that means 'coming together of people' that will have a conference centre, a playground, and a large ornamental water feature.
The idea behind the memorial to be constructed is to capture the legacy of how the New Zealanders responded and came as one to support the Muslim community after the vicious mosque attack on March 15.
President of FIANZ, Dr Mustafa Farouk has said that the memorial will be made in two parts, one memorializes the 51 souls killed and the second will be a celebration of New Zealand's response to the attack.
"It would celebrate how New Zealanders, regardless of faith, came together," Dr Farouk told media.
The concept design is made by Apa Architects in Rotorua who estimate the project cost to be between $10m and 15m to build.
"This memorial could provide a space where this idea would be celebrated and discussed. It could be a place for conferences, and somewhere, families can sit down and contemplate."
Dr Farouk adds that the mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel has not yet seen the plans but has supported the idea of a memorial to the way New Zealanders responded to the attacks.
“There have been a number of other proposals, not all of which are in the public arena. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to form any views until the community has had an opportunity to be engaged,” Mayor Lianne Dalziel told The Indian Weekender.
Mayor Dalziel also plans to meet Dr Farouk from FIANZ soon and said it was time to start considering how a memorial design might be chosen, Stuff reported.
Dr Farouk also added that he was able to share the concept designs with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern briefly.
PM Ardern said no decision had been made on the memorial plans yet.
"It felt at the time, I think, probably for all parties, that it may have been a bit soon for some of those conversations, but I imagine that they will be ongoing," PM Ardern told media.
Dr Farouk adds that the project could be funded by foreign countries, religious groups, the Christchurch City Council and the central government.
The concept plan of the memorial had also been presented to the embassy staff from Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia along with the Mormon, Jewish, and Anglican leaders in New Zealand
Dr Farouk says that the ambitious plans could also be scaled down to a smaller water feature and just the conference centre and can be located anywhere in New Zealand. The design plans were made to draw funding interest from religious groups and overseas.
"We need to do more consultation with people in Christchurch, Ngai Tahi and the council," Dr Farouk added.
"This is not an idea that came out of consultation with the [bereaved] families. It is something we wanted to do quickly so we could gauge interest. We wanted to engage people from outside Christchurch first to see if it could fly before we worked out the nitty gritty," Dr Farouk told Stuff.
President of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Shagaf Khan said that he liked the designs and the consultation with the community has not been done yet.
"We haven't got the opinion of our community yet because it is too early to ask.
"We support the idea of having a memorial somewhere in the city where people can contemplate," Mr Khan said.
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