Kilbirnie mosque aims to strengthen ties with Māori culture

By Talisa Kupenga

Members of the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington want to build stronger relationships with Māori communities in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks and also better acknowledge Māori culture within their place of worship.

International Muslim Association NZ President Tahir Nawaz says, "We are developing a relationship in a better way since this incident happened. I've been communicating with some iwi groups and the main leaders."

Nawaz says it makes sense to strengthen ties between the groups because there are many cultural similarities.

"We have a lot of similarities when it comes to the prayers, the way we get into our mosque, the way Māori go into marae, the way we sit, the way we act," he says.  "We have a lot of Māori Muslims [so] while they are in Islam they also have to bring their own Māori flavour there as well."

Nawaz would also like to see some form of Māori culture represented within the mosque to acknowledge Māori as indigenous to New Zealand.

"We're working on a plan moving forward such as how our mosque would be represented with iwi icons, with the way it is presented in marae. We want to have the similarity here."

Iwi leaders and the Muslim community are expected to meet at the mosque on Friday.