| 19.03,19. 07:17 AM |
Christchurch schoolboys perform haka in show of respect for attack victims
Photo: "We want them to know we care for them," the boys said of the Muslim community. (ABC News: Nick Dole)
A quiet Christchurch street has been awoken by the roar of the haka.
Dozens of teenaged boys performed the ceremonial dance in a show of unity and support with New Zealand's Muslim community.
The group of boys from Christchurch Boys' High School walked down to Hagley College to give their respects to the loved ones of those killed in Friday's attack.
Hagley College has been transformed into a welfare centre, where families and friends have been grieving and praying together.
They came out from the building and gathered on one side of the road, while the students sang for them from the other side.
Then, the haka began.
Tears began to stream down the faces of some people watching as the boys performed the traditional dance.
Head boy Fergus Kilpatrick, 17, was among the students, and said it was an honour to perform the haka.
"It's something that's really special. It's a part of our culture and it's what we've done growing up, and to share that with someone through their grieving period," he said.
"It's an honour. It really is."
The students and members of the Muslim community then crossed the road and hugged one another.
Fergus Kilpatrick said the tears and hugs were unexpected.
"It was really emotional. Obviously they felt loved and that's important. We want them to know we care for them. This is their home," he said.
Mohammed Daud Kahn, a member of Christchurch's Muslim community, said he was moved by the boys' show of respect.
He said he greatly appreciated the students' support.
"We are very fortunate to be here in New Zealand with people … who understand our culture and our religion," he said.
"This event has scarred us but it's also brought us closer together."
He said the traditional dance was something in which the whole community could share.
"We are hurt, but we are not scared," he said.