PM asks school students to ‘honour those lost, not the one responsible’

By Talisa Kupenga

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was welcomed by pōhiri to Cashmere High School on Wednesday morning, where many have lost schoolmates and loved ones in Friday’s mosque shootings.

“It’s ok to grieve, it’s ok to ask for help, even if you haven’t lost someone,” she told them.

Students asked a series of questions to the PM ranging from gun law reform, whether more charges will be laid against the attacker, while another asked “how are you?” to which she replied “I am sad”. 

Ardern asked students whether they had seen or heard anything on social media which made them feel uncomfortable ,and many in the audience raised their hands.

Te Reo Māori Teacher Detroit Stirling says students have been coping well and supporting each other in the wake of the attack. 

“We have a space at the marae for students to congregate and be together and support each other during this difficult time.

“We’ve lost two students and the parent of another and many others had connections to members of the Muslim community that have been affected.”

Before Ardern left the school she asked students, “If you knew anyone who lost their lives on Friday, it is their name you need to honour” before requesting students remember them and not say the terrorist’s name.