New Zealand High Commission Pretoria, South Africa
Christchurch Earthquake: Remembrance held in Tanzania
The small New Zealand community in Dar es Salaam organised an informal memorial service to victims of the Christchurch earthquake on Sunday 27 March. The organisers hoped their thoughts and prayers reached those who most needed them and reported that the service gave them strength and a sense of peace.
Messages were read out on behalf of the Maori King:
"Tena koutou katoa i runga i o tatou taumahatanga.
On behalf of Tangata whenua of Aotearoa, the Indigenous people of NZ wish to embrace you at this time of sorrow. I have this morning spoken to the Maori King, Arikinui Tuheitia, who sends his aroha and greetings and reminds me that the burdens are somewhat lessened because we are here, but that all of you, whanau of Aotearoa will be feeling the pain and futility of physical separation from your homeland. He speaks of those who have lost their lives, their families, the world which is but one country and all of us, its citizens. He uses the metaphorical analogy of our eyes. How "WE SEE TOGETHER, WE BLINK TOGETHER, WE CRY TOGETHER, AND YET WE NEVER SEE EACH OTHER". We may never see each other, but we are one.
The Maori people send God's love and comfort to you all in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and all the countries you represent that are but one set of eyes.
Mabel Wharekawa-Burt, Katikati Aotearoa New Zealand"
and from Dr Geoff Randal, New Zealand High Commissioner to Tanzania, based in Pretoria.
"Nga mate haere, haere, haere
Tatou te hunga ora, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa
The dead, farewell, farewell, farewell
To us the living, greetings, greetings, greetings to us all.
The Christchurch earthquake has echoed around the world, among New Zealanders of course, but also more widely. We have received messages of sympathy and solidarity from just about everywhere, and practical help has come from our closest friends and neighbours. We are grateful to everyone for this generosity of spirit.
For New Zealanders, raised to think about the possibility of earthquake and schooled to react in self-protection, this is the nightmare we grow up with. It is a tragedy that escapes many of us - from 1931 to 2011 is a long period of calm - but today we all feel for our families, friends, fellow New Zealanders and others who are in Christchurch. We share the grief for those who have perished, and for their families and loved ones. We offer our respect to them and to those who survive and have begun the hard work to recover and rebuild. Kia kaha."
The music chosen for the remembrance was ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ by Crowded House and Pokarekare Ana, recorded by Margaret Ulrich. Playing the latter song out across the bay and into the darkening sky at the closing of the service was a special moment for those gathered.
The following 2 poems by New Zealand poet, Anne Powell, were also read:
Green of fern refresh us
Feathers of kereru warm us
Rocks of Moeraki encircle us
Waters of Taupo bathe us
Dive of gannet focus us
Arc of rainbow protect us
Stars of Southern Cross guide us.’
We are land
we are breathing
cleansed by rain.
We are flax
we are waiting
spellbound by tui.
We are rocks
we are resting
warmed by sun.
We are mountains
we are present
mapped by stars.
When told her poems had been selected, Anne said "I felt quite moved that the poems had somehow found their way to Tanzania and were able to be used to enable people to connect with New Zealand at this difficult time".
More about Anne's books can be found at: www.cenacle.org.nz
After the ceremony the organisers cast a wreath into the sea from the cliffs, noting that "it seemed appropriate, as New Zealanders have such a strong connection with the sea".