Muslims praying in front of the one of the Christchurch mosques attacked by a white supremacist were protected on Wednesday evening by locals, moments after hundreds performed a mass haka.
The touching display was the latest act of solidarity shown by inhabitants of a city still reeling from the worst attack on Muslims in the West in recent times.
Throughout the last five days small groups of Muslims have defiantly held evening prayers in front of the Al Noor mosque, the first of two to be assaulted last Friday by a lone gunman in an attack that killed 50 people.
But on Wednesday evening they had help.
As men, women and children prayed and prostrated, dozens of locals silently stood behind them, their arms interlinked.
“My heart is racing, it’s something unbelievable, I can barely describe it,” Omar, a 32-year-old Muslim who had flown from Sydney earlier this week, told AFP.
“To see the community all so close together, it’s amazing,” he added.
Moments earlier a crowd of hundreds thumped their chests, stomped their feet and stuck out their tongues for a haka dance, their Maori cries echoing across the park towards the bloodstained mosque.
Nuha Asad, who lost her husband Ali Elmadani in the massacre, was watching from the sidelines, visibly moved.
“The New Zealand community really cares for us and we’re really together in this,” she told AFP. “It made us a littler happier in the grief”.