Sunday's National Remembrance Service marking the first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks has been cancelled, as a precautionary approach to Covid-19 (the Corona Virus).
The event, to be held at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch at 3pm Sunday 15 March 2020, was expected to attract a large crowd, with many travelling from around New Zealand and from overseas.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says while we still have no community transmission of Covid-19 in New Zealand, we are taking a precautionary approach to protect the health of all New Zealanders.
“This is a pragmatic decision. We’re very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn’t create the risk of further harm being done.
"The advice we received for this event, is that based on people travelling from different parts of the country and from overseas, if there was a case it could be difficult to trace those who had come into contact with that person, so we are taking a cautious approach.”
“March 15 now becomes an opportunity for every New Zealander to reflect in their own way on the events of a year ago. I encourage everyone to take time on Sunday to remember and to recommit to the values of inclusion and love demonstrated so clearly a year ago.”
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the decision was made to cancel the event given the rapidly changing environment around Covid-19.
“Tomorrow, we can still reflect on the incredible ways the community came together in response to the events of that tragic day, and think of ways that we can build on the compassion and unity that was so poignantly shown in our city, across the country and throughout the world.”