By Chris Leskovsek
15 – 3 – 19
A gunman attacks two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 and injuring another 50. This is believed to be the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of New Zealand. Immediately after the attack, the whole country joined as one to support the NZ Muslim community, and start talking about racism and hate. Peaceful marches took place all around the country. 6 days after the attack, people asked and the government announced a total ban on semi automatic guns. I took these photos around to remember that people can unite despite our differences, political beliefs and race to agree that this will never happen again, at least here, in little NZ. Kia kaha (stay strong) CHCH.
1) prime minister, Jacinda Ardern announces the attacks live on national TV, declares state of emergency. – I was in a rural coast town when the attacks happened, i received a text message from someone in Sweden about this and couldn’t believe it. So immediately I peeked over a couple’s caravan at the campground I was staying while they were watching TV.
2) NZ’s national newspaper cover the morning after the attack. The count of dead and injured was not final. It has then increased to 50 dead.
3) girls on the street hugging a muslim girl walking by, showing respect and support. A lot of non-muslim women decided to wear a hijab during the week after, as a sign of respect for the NZ muslim community.
4) I lit a candle for to mourn the dead. Each stone represents a dead.
5) Sir Dove-Myer Robinson statue in Aotea square filled with love messages of peace and support
6) 2 minute silence to commemorate the dead via big screens installed nationwide. A few days after the attacks.
7) thousands gather in a national vigil at Auckland domain 5 days after the atrack
8) Kiwi reporter wearing a hijab transmitting on live tv at vigil
9) man reading how the attacks happened
10 – 14) Photos taken during various marches against racism and white supremacy in Auckland.
15) Magazine covers outside a dairy shop in Auckland weeks after the attacks.
16) Perhaps my favorite photograph, while walking through a march against racism, I noticed this old man walking towards the crowd with this policeman holding his hand. At the beginning I thought he was lost or something happened to him. After taking this photo and noting a reporter that also approached him to talk, he tells me ‘Im 95, and I have seen a lot of suffering in my life, so I came here because I didn’t wanted to leave this world without seeing the beginning of change for a better tomorrow’. I thought, what an amazing person. Days after I took this photo, his story showed up on some locals newspaper. He turned out to be a 95 years old WWII veteran. Lost his wife and only daughter years ago. Has no other family nor relatives. But he was interested in change and peace. His name is John Sato (https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/385640/veteran-95-takes-bus-to-join-anti-racism-rally)
All photos taken the same night of the attacks and the following 6 days of national mourning in Auckland, NZ
By Chris Leskovsek