Christchurch Terror Attack: Thousands of students pay tribute to victims with emotional haka at Hagley Park

Publish Date
Friday, 15 March 2019, 2:20PM

A stirring haka lit up a corner of Hagley Park in Christchurch yesterday afternoon to celebrate unity in the face of Friday's terror attack.

Thousands of secondary school students from all over the city congregated in the park for the vigil, led by Cashmere High School head boy ‎Okirano Tilaia‎.

As students then made their way to the memorial site on Deans Ave, groups broke out in haka and waiata.

Cashmere High Year 10 student, Sayyad Milne and year 12 student Hamza Mustafa were killed on Friday.

Cashmere Principal Mark Wilson has described Sayyad as "an awesome kid … with kind eyes, a big heart, a cheeky smile and a thick mop of black hair".

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"He was studying hard and was planning to be an engineer or an architect."

Wilson said Hamza came to New Zealand after he and his family fled the civil war in Syria.

"He was an excellent horse rider and had ridden in equestrian events back in his home countries. He aspired to be a veterinarian, which reflects his love of animals … He was a great student … and a compassionate young man."

Hamza's younger brother was also in the mosque and suffered gunshot wounds to his leg. Adding to the family's trauma, their father was also killed.

Former student Tariq Omar, 24, also died in the shooting.

Wilson said a father of a Cashmere student had also been killed, and another father of a student had been injured.

 

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.