As the Royal Commission completes the final stages of the inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques on 15 March 2019, Commissioners have now concluded engagement with Muslim communities.
Supported by JustCommunity and Navigate Your Way Trust, earlier this month, Commissioners held a final hui with affected whānau, survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack and extend their heartfelt gratitude to all who met with for engaging openly with courage and generosity.
“It has been humbling to listen to and speak with those most closely affected by the terrorist attack and we learned a great deal. We appreciate this engagement has been difficult for grieving whānau, survivors and witnesses but we can assure everyone it was of enormous value to the inquiry,” says Sir William Young.
“We were reminded again of the ongoing trauma and challenges that so many people face as a result of the terrorist attack, and the long road that lies ahead for affected whānau, survivors and witnesses,” says Commissioner Jacqui Caine.
Commissioners also hosted their final hui with the Muslim Community Reference Group, the last of nine hui marking each stage of the inquiry process.
“We worked hard to build and maintain relationships with the members of our Reference Group and have been rewarded with contributions that were honest, perceptive, challenging and ultimately highly valuable to the report,” says Commissioner Sir William Young.
“We both want to acknowledge the responsibility of this work and the significant impact on each Reference Group member and we want to express our respect and most importantly, our gratitude for their efforts”, say Commissioner Sir William Young and Commissioner Jacqui Caine.
Members expressed the hope that there will be lasting change in New Zealand for the benefit of all.
Muslim Community Reference Group members travelled from all over New Zealand to attend full day hui in Christchurch, which required extensive preparation and follow up. In addition, some members led local engagement, ensuring wider Muslim communities throughout New Zealand could connect with the inquiry.
“This work has not been easy, and we appreciate that members have felt the weight of their own communities’ fears, concerns and ambitions. Members’ commitment and contributions to the inquiry have also impacted on their own families and has meant time off from work and away from home,” says Jacqui Caine
“We acknowledge with gratitude, the thoughtful approach of independent facilitator Chris Mene who ensured our hui were as meaningful as possible. Given the topics we had to traverse, it was always our aim to reduce further harm and Chris Mene was pivotal in this,” says Sir William Young.
Commissioners sincerely thank all Muslim Community Reference Group members.
“We appreciate there are ongoing challenges and milestones ahead for Muslim communities and we wish the very best to all,” says Jacqui Caine.
The Royal Commission’s report will be presented to Governor-General on 26 November 2020. The Inquiries Act 2013 directs that the report must subsequently be presented by the appropriate minister (the Minister of Internal Affairs) to the House of Representatives as soon as practicable.
For clarity, the report will not be publicly released by the Royal Commission on 26 November 2020, it is for the Government to decide how and when to release the Royal Commission’s report.