Duncan Garner: Our reaction to the terror attack has been impressive

Opinion 29/03/2019

OPINION: At 1:40pm two weeks ago an alleged murderer intent on spreading hate and evil from his deluded mind hit New Zealand. 

Our local Muslim community paid the ultimate price, but I saw this immediately as a terror attack or assault on New Zealand - on us as a country and on us and our peaceful lives, our values, our way of life, our kids, and our future. 

Our distance away from the world's troubles has always - rather naively I suppose -made us think these attacks are someone else's problem and some other country's issue to deal with and recover from.

No more. We're no different. I have never liked the term we "lost our innocence" because we have gone overseas for decades as a country or as an army or as special forces and we've taken lives - we aren't innocent. We're sheltered. 

To me it's how we've reacted that has stood out. So impressive, if that's the right word. If we're brutal with ourselves, we have large pockets of prejudice and we're not short of racists, but the way we have collectively stopped, thought and reached out across to our Muslim neighbours has been nothing short of impressive. 

The kindness and empathy was led by the Prime Minister. She set the tone and we took up her challenge and all did something we perhaps hadn't done before. 

For me, I visited our local mosque and spoke quietly and privately with some of our Muslim brothers and their sons who happen to be in the same class as my son. 

So let this be our legacy test. Let's not drop the kindness and return to prejudice. This event speaks to me more than a Taika Waititi Human Rights Commission advertisement - make pure evil be a force for good.

Carry on the kindness, New Zealand. Embed this reaction into our lives forever - get to know the people who are different to us, because they're remarkably the same.

Our strength is when we act collectively. Love and community will always beat the hate of the deluded lone wolf.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.