Walking for their New Zealand neighbours
ON Sunday evening, locals from Blackwater took part in a "peace walk” in a display of solidarity and to share their grief with the people of Christchurch who last Friday suffered the devastating loss of 50 lives in two consecutive terrorist mass shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.
Blackwater woman Margaret Morgan was born in Whangarei, New Zealand, and said she was inspired to organise the walk after she saw a social media post about a peace walk and vigil being held in the town.
"I'm the sort of person who needs to get up and do something if something happens.
"And I saw that and thought 'wow, what a wonderful idea'.
"It was last minute, and I just put it out there online and I was overwhelmed by all the comments and all the support for the walk.”
Ms Morgan said more than 50 people walked from the Blackwater Mine Workers Club to the Japanese Gardens.
She said the Black Diamond Hotel owners handed out balloons and played music as part of a pit-stop and the Capricorn Hotel provided a barbecue and food.
"The message resonated with people and people cared enough to come and do this walk.
"The Blackwater community came together and showed their love and support for what happened in Christchurch.
"I think it's really important and it's a positive way to work through that process of grief as well and show our support.”
Police cordoned off the road and walkers stopped to sing the New Zealand national anthem in English and Maori.
"We're all culturally and ethnically diverse but at the end of the day we're all people and we don't like to see tragedies like this happen,” Ms Morgan said.
"It was a peace walk but it was like saying 'no' to hate and racism.”
She said she hoped peaceful acts such as the walk would inspire love, equality, unity and hope for future generations.
"I wanted to send out a message of equality and love despite colour, race, religion, culture or ethnicity,” Ms Morgan said.
"It's just about love and acceptance and acceptance of each other's differences.”