by Chris Tobin
Timaru Mayor Damon Odey says he has passed on the Timaru district’s message of support for the people of Christchurch to their Mayor Lianne Dalziel in the wake of Friday’s horrific mass shooting.
“I definitely wanted Lianne Dalziel to know that Timaru district’s thoughts and prayers were with the people of Christchurch and in particular the Muslim community.
“She has had so much to deal with and she didn’t reply but her PA did.”
Mr Odey said people were still in shock.
“It has shocked all of us across the whole country. It was an act of hate against us as New Zealanders who choose to live here.”
Sunday’s vigil at Caroline Bay to remember those who had died and their families was fantastic, Mr Odey said.
“Our nation is built on diversity and it was great to see people standing together.
“Representatives from the Muslim community were given the opportunity to speak but they are in total shock and upset.
“One lady I passed my condolences to was physically and emotionally beside herself. It will take a long time for all of us to comprehend what has happened.”
The flag at the Timaru District Council is being flown at half mast, as are those at emergency services buildings and schools.
On Monday evening a special vigil was held at Waimate’s Seddon Square, which several hundred people attended. A Christchurch tribute board has been set up in the local library, which will remain for a week before the messages are sent to Christchurch.
South Canterbury police have been deployed to Christchurch but local area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said he could not provide details and all comment would have to come from police in Christchurch.
While Timaru did not have a mosque, there would be heightened security to ensure people’s safety.
St John territorial manager Darryn Grigsby said he could not comment whether St John staff had been sent to Christchurch, adding, like Inspector Gaskin, that information could be released only by police in Christchurch.