Kīngitanga dedicate Regatta to those affected by mosque attacks

By Tamati Tiananga
Photos taken by photographer Atawhai Edwards

Kapa Haka leaders, artists and Iwi representatives from across the country joined the masses around the globe in expressing aroha and sympathy to whanau affected by the mass shootings in Christchurch on Friday.  To show support the annual regatta attended by thousands was dedicated to those who lost their lives in Otautahi.

Iwi leader Rahui Papa said, King Tuheitia and the people of Wakato-Tainui united in grief for those who has lost loved ones, "As a people we send our love to all those affected, we will continue to praying for those grieving for lost ones"     

King Tuheitia personally dedicated the 124th Royal Regatta to the victims of the act of terror in Christchurch and their whānau.

The message from the Kiingitanga was "kia mau te aroha - hei aha te aha!" [Hold fast to love - foresake all else] Drawn from the tongikura said by King Pootatau. 

"We stood in silence as a mark of respect to those who died. We stood to commit ourselves to be active in casting out this sort of behaviour" 

Papa adds, the annual regatta event which was broadcast live on the tribes social media platform with hastag #KiaMauKiTeAroha Otautahi sent a clear message to the Muslim community and Te Waipounamu tribe Ngāi Tahu that Waikato-Tainui are on standby to lend support if called upon.

"We were asked if we would consider postponing this event, but this is the best chance to acknowledging those communities affected," said Papa. 

"We will await patiently and take directive from Ngāi Tahu. I’m sure they will inform us when is the right time for us to travel down and show our support in the areas needed most" 

King Tuheitia's political advisor former New Zealand First politician Tuariki Delamere said, "I just pray when the identity of those people are released none of them are my clients"  

Delemare who founded of TDA Immigration in 2000 has concerns some of his clients are among the 49 people who shot dead.

"I used to be the minister of immigration, I have a very busy immigration practice and brought in many people from overseas"