Prime Minister, Governor General lay wreaths in Wellington after Christchurch mosque shootings

ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFFAli Adeeb’s father Sami Adeeb is in Christchurch Hospital after being injured in the Friday mosque shooting. Ali Adeeb was also at the Deans Ave venue when the attack began.

The shooter entered two mosques in central Christchurch on Friday afternoon and open fired on people gathered inside

In Wellington on Sunday, the smell of flowershung  in the air from the hundreds of bouquets covering the steps of the mosque for the 50 people who died and the Islamic community. 

PM Jacinda Ardern lays down flowers at the Wellington Islamic Community.
ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFFPM Jacinda Ardern lays down flowers at the Wellington Islamic Community.

Before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived, Wellington resident Moana Leota sang Imagine, joined by many in the crowd. 

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It brought Islamic Community member Yakub Khan to tears. Later he said he was thankful for the support the community had shown. 

Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy lays down flowers as a tribute.
ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFFGovernor General Dame Patsy Reddy lays down flowers as a tribute.

“All the people that came here today, we are with them, and they are with us.” 

Khan said they knew the New Zealand community were supportive. 

“I didn’t know how much until today.” 

Yakub Khan from the Kilbirnie Mosque weeps as people sing .
ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFFYakub Khan from the Kilbirnie Mosque weeps as people sing .

Wearing a hijab and followed by security Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugged members of the community and laid a bunch of flowers on the steps before entering the mosque. 

After a meeting with Islamic community leaders, Ardern left about 30 minutes later without addressing the public. 

About an hour after Ardern left, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy arrived also wearing a hijab and laid flowers on the steps of the mosque. 

PM Jacinda Ardern and Yakub Khan hug in an emotional scene.
ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFFPM Jacinda Ardern and Yakub Khan hug in an emotional scene.

At the centre people stood mostly in silence as people arrived with flowers, some hand-picked from home, some bringing hand-written letters and cards of support, some with gifts and homemade artwork. 

The mosque in Kilbirnie was heavily guarded by armed police who stood watching members of the public as they came and left.  

A vigil will be held on Sunday night at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. 

The event was first planned for Te Ngākau Civic Square but with over 12,000 expected to attend, the Wellington City Council announced on Sunday morning that the venue had changed. 

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