After Christchurch

Comfort in Nature

New Zealand is in mourning.

This is a country that has become insulated to the incidents of mass murder that are commonplace in so many other parts of the world. For reasons of isolation, or politics, or simply its tolerance of other human beings, New Zealand is a sanctuary from hate.

And then hate appeared in the doorway of a house of worship with a semi-automatic weapon.

How does one reckon with such unexpected tragedy?

Prime Minister Jacinta Arden has been praised for her leadership in the aftermath of the shooting. She said that although many of the victims of the shooting are migrants, “New Zealand is their home. They are us.”

She said New Zealanders were not chosen for this act of terror because they condone racism but rather that they represent diversity, kindness, compassion, and a refuge for those who need it. “And those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack,” she said.

For those of us who are visitors in this country, especially those of us who come from a nation where mass shootings have become frequent, there is a feeling of profound sadness. In those  15 minutes of sustained gunfire in Christchurch it was as if the innocence of an entire nation had been lost.

New Zealanders, however, will respond with typical strength. Christchurch was magnificently rebuilt following the devastating 2011 earthquake. It will recover from this tragedy, too. All of New Zealand will heal again.

But on this day, the sky is dark in Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2019

All rights reserved

31 thoughts on “After Christchurch

  1. Thank you, Jeffrey, New Zealand is a very very special place and it is truly very sad that this hate was planned for there. In 1991 we spent a month in New Zealand and toured North and South Islands and Christchurch. The people are so wonderful, so kind. My heat breaks for them all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hayden, If there can be a positive side to this tragedy it is seeing the resiliency of New Zealanders in a time of crisis. Eight years ago Ginny and I had left Christchurch a day before the massive earthquake destroyed the city. Brick by brick Christchurch was rebuilt. Person by person Zealanders will recover, too.


    • Byron, I share your thoughts and prayers for the people of New Zealand, and everywhere else innocents are subjected to gun violence. How is it possible that these killers (here and other places) choose places of worship as their killing grounds?


  2. Thank you. I prayed for al in New Zealand at Mass yesterday.

    *From:* Flying Fish *Sent:* Saturday, March 16, 2019 2:22 AM *To:* *Subject:* [New post] After Christchurch

    flyingfishsail posted: ” New Zealand is in mourning. This is a country that somehow has become insulated to the incidents of mass murder commonplace in so many other parts of the world. For reasons of its isolation, or politics, or simply its tolerance of other human beings, Ne”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jeffrey,

    A couple of months ago a young woman was killed in New Zealand. I watched on national news as Jacinda tearfully apologized to the family for the country not keeping her safe. I thought “Are you kidding me? Here one murder is nothing.”

    I do love New Zealand and I am so sorry this happened, it must be devastating.




    Liked by 1 person

    • New Zealanders are such trusting and caring people. They carry no suspicion. A motorist with a flat sometimes has two or three strangers parked alongside the road with them helping them change the tire. I pray that this incident doesn’t harden that beautiful spirit.


  4. “New Zealanders WILL respond with typical strength”…………love it !!!
    Sorry seems inadequate to describe this insanity…..certainly not what we would expect in this peaceful country.
    Stay strong Jeffrey—-I know you are helping wherever you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff When I heard of this tragedy everything stopped. I thought first of the families that were damaged physically and emotionally. I always think of New Zealand as the garden of Eden for so many reasons. Then I thought of you and the absurdity of it all. As we all know good and positive thoughts carry us through life. Human kind is far less perfect than Nature. Ill think of you immersed in the Natural World and pray for the damaged beings on our planet.


    • Thank you, Barry. I especially appreciate your comments about the healing qualities of nature. We all respond to tragedy in personal ways. For me, the anger and sadness was tempered by a long, quiet walk in the sanctuary of an offshore island.


  6. The irony of these horrible acts of violence is the perpetrator’s sheer ignorance of factual history, world religions, and the humanities. That anyone can choose darkness over light, hate over love, violence rather than peace, evil over good towards their fellow man is so corrupt and beyond rational comprehension. Anyone who follows these beliefs lacks human values. The goodness and love of New Zealanders will prevail. May the world follow their lead and restore our understanding that we are one planet, all humans are connected regardless of skin color,religion or culture..or land of origin.
    United we stand. Division has and can lead to destruction of civilizations.



  7. Thank you for sending this out. It is good to hear from an unbiased source. Nicely communicated. Very sad indeed to hear of such news from a country the whole world respects and considers a neutral accepting place. Prayers for healing for all of New Zealand and those directly affected by this tragedy. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for responding, Patrick. Several days have passed, now, since the mass killing in New Zealand. Prayers for healing are working. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confronted this tragedy with anger, empathy, and legislation. In these darkest of days her leadership achieved its finest hours. Assault weapons have now been outlawed in New Zealand. Nationwide there now seems to be a renewed sense of compassion among New Zealanders. They understand here that a divided country will only invite more acts of terror.


    • I agree that love trumps hate, Joanna, and New Zealanders are proving that with simple acts of kindness. This country’s leader wore a hijab to meet with grieving muslim families. Millions of dollars have been raised for victims of the attacks. Two minutes of silence were observed nationwide today by people of all racial backgrounds, religious beliefs, and skin color. New Zealand will emerge stronger as a result of its response to this tragedy. It is a message from which other nations can learn.


  8. Perhaps it is this Land of New Zeal to regulate gun purchasing and to embrace their fellow man in their time of tragedy that will be an example for all other nations.
    Your post was concise and heartfelt. It centered on the people and the event. So rare and so beautiful while others normally focus on themselves….just one of the many reasons I look forward to your blog. Thank you for sharing a more intimate viewpoint.


    • As you know so well, Patricia, voyaging is about much more than just raising a sail and steering a course. Passage making gives us an opportunity to see beyond the horizon. I feel privileged to have made landfall in New Zealand at this moment in time and witness the extraordinary strength of the people here and their leadership.


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