A message from Jennifer Gill, Foundation North's CEO:
Our hearts are with Muslim communities in Christchurch and across New Zealand.
As a foundation which stands for the values of social cohesion, diversity and inclusion, we are heartbroken by the tragic events in Christchurch. We are working to respond in ways that will add value in our communities, both strategically now and in the longer term.
Yesterday our staff held a vigil to pay our respects to those most affected in last Friday's shootings, and to take some time to contemplate together after these terrible events.
Yesterday I met with chief executives from the country's other community trusts, who we are proud to stand with at this time, to explore what might be done collectively to respond to immediate needs, and how the trusts might collaborate going forward to address the needs of communities who do not feel safe on our shores.
We are also thinking of our migrant and refugee communities in Auckland and Northland. At a time when many are asking "how can we respond?", many of us can reach out to neighbours, friends and strangers, check people are OK and see what they need. Taking a longer view, we could all think about ways that our services, programmes and events can be more inclusive of ethnically diverse communities so that they feel connected, included and that they belong.
Part of our whakataukī is at the forefront of our minds right now:
Ui mai koe ki ahau e aha te mea nui o te ao,
Māku e kī atu,
Tihei mauri ora.
If you should ask me what is the greatest thing on Earth,
I will tell you,
It is people,
It is people,
It is people.