Pasifika Festival 2019 Cancelled - Help for coping with Distress

Given the need to prioritise police resourcing following the terrorist attack in Christchurch, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) have today decided to cancel the Pasifika Festival for the coming weekend, 23 and 24 March. Many people in Christchurch and across New Zealand (and even the world) will experience distress and horror following the fatalities in Christchurch - this is a normal reaction to a terror attack. Please be mindful of our Muslim community, our hearts and prayers are with the victims’ families and friends. Pasefika Proud have some information and mental health advice from service providers for coping after a traumatic event for those who need it.



ATEED promise that Pasifika will return bigger and brighter than ever in 2020 having decided to cancel the annual festival as the country continues to reel from the loss of 50 innocent men, women, and children and harm of 50 more when a terrorist opened fire at 2 mosques in Christchurch on Friday March 15.


In a statement released today by ATEED's General Manager Destination Steve Armitage, ATEED advise:


"Initial discussions with New Zealand Police gave us hope that through the festival we would be able to bring Auckland’s communities together at this time of national mourning, however, given the unprecedented nature of what has happened we appreciate and respect that the New Zealand Police must prioritise resourcing to ensure the safety of all our communities across Tāmaki Makaurau."


Pacific campaign against family violence Pasefika Proud have some resources and health advice from service providers for coping after a traumatic event for those who are still reeling from the Christchurch shooting.


If you are feeling distressed, stay with people you trust, or if others are distressed make sure they are not left alone and try to keep safe until the reaction passes or until you can find help from a professional.


Most people will manage, and the distress will subside over time.


However, there will be some people that will have more profound reactions, particularly later on some time after the event, and will require assistance.


Sharing video footage or images on social media and irresponsible media reporting can be extremely unhelpful for vulnerable people, not just in New Zealand, but all around the world.


It may trigger previous trauma for them, or if they are directly impacted and have had loved ones harmed or killed, may experience a more intense trauma response.


Merely viewing this material and discussing it with people who are vulnerable can also be unhelpful.


Please refrain from doing so.


Instead share words of encouragement and peace as well as helpful information and advice.


Below is some information and mental health advice for coping after a traumatic event in reference to Christchurch:


• Le Va’s info sheet which is more for a wider NZ audience, with info about self-help and support: Coping


• Two info sheets from the Ministry of Health- although more aimed for those directly impacted - The Ministry is currently translating these docs into languages most relevant for those directly impacted: Health Advice


Donate to the victims and families:


• Victim Support has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Givealittle. They says it will use all donations received provide support and resources for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members.


• The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre has set up a crowdfunding campaign on LaunchGood. All proceeds will help with the immediate, short-term needs of the grieving families.


Attend a vigil:


• Auckland, Friday 22nd March at 6pm - another vigil will take place at Aotea Square.


• Auckland, Sunday 24nd March at 2pm - Kia Kaha Aotearoa: Stand Against Racism is standing up against all forms of racism and Islamophobia in Aotearoa.


• Kapiti, Friday 22nd March at 7pm - a vigil is being held at Zeal(external link) in Paraparaumu


• Wellington, Thursday 21st March at 7pm - Amnesty at Vic is holding a vigil in Civic Square.


• Nelson, Friday 22nd March at 12:30pm - Nelson Islamic Cultural Society Mosque, 320 Hardy St invite you to hold hands to show solidarity in prayer


• Christchurch, Thursday March 21 at 8.30pm - Cathedral Square, Christchurch


• Christchurch - An area has been opened up along the wall of the Botanical Gardens on Rolleston Avenue for anyone that would like to lay flowers and any other items to show support during this distressing time.


• Dunedin, Thursday 21st March at 7pm - Vigil for Lives taken in Christchurch will take place at the Octagon.


Other information:


• The New Zealand Police have setup a helpline for anyone concerned about family & friends following the Christchurch terrorist attacks - 0800 115 019.


• The New Zealand Police also have available their Restoring Family Links website that people can visit to register missing persons or if you wish to register themselves as alive.


• Victim Support also have setup a helpline for anyone that needs support during this distressing time - 0800 842 846.


• All New Zealanders can also use the 1737 free text or phone line to talk/text with a counsellor if they feel overwhelmed.


• There is also footage that is currently still being watched or shared across social media of the attacks. This footage is extremely distressing material and no one should be sharing this as they'll be breaking the law. You can help by simply reporting this content to Facebook.


Police urge everyone in New Zealand to remain vigilant during this time.



*The image used is a derivative of, “Women leaving flowers for mosque shooting victims” copyright (c) 2019 Luis Alejandro Apiolaza and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.