Christchurch survivors talk about having the strength to carry on, six months after terrorist attack

Despite the devastating loss of life during the Christchurch terrorist attack, survivors and those who lost loved ones have found the strength and courage to carry on.

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Survivors Temel Atacocugu and Simo Abbari discussed their recovery process after the March 15 attacks. Source: Breakfast

One of the survivors is Temel Atacocugu, who was shot nine times in the March 15 attack where 51 people lost their lives after shootings at two mosques in the city.

"Six months is very quick, actually," he told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, "and also very slow, too, for us."

He said while his recovery in the six months following the attacks has been "going slow but steady", he expressed his appreciation for New Zealand for supporting him and his family.

"I wanted to say, 'Thank you, New Zealand.'"

Mr Atacocugu was shot three times in his left arm. He has since had four major surgeries, with "maybe a couple few more surgeries" in the future. He said he will also be receiving dental, and nerve and muscle surgery at a later date.

Mr Atacocugu said he now needs to go on a holiday outside Christchurch for relaxation and "mental rehabilitation".

"I know it's going to take [a] long time, physical and mental, but I will win ... kia kaha, I want to say. Stay strong, so I will be stay[ing] strong."

Another survivor who spoke to Breakfast was Simo Abbari, who lost his business partner and staff members in the attack.

Mr Abbari said he gets the strength to carry on because it's "a part of my nature, first, and the way I live and the way I believe."

"I believe that we have to save humanity, and either you are a chef, taxi driver or policeman or whatever you do in your life, there are some service that you have to provide to someone else in need."

He said while the tragedy happened to the Muslim community, the aftermath of the attacks "is not going to stop us, the way we think and the way we live."

"It's actually brought us together and I start to think and to learn, more you try to break us, more we come together and it's amazing when you think of it in this sense, that we become stronger and stronger and stronger.

"I think the way we live, even in New Zealand, being humble, being accepting each other – they keep me going."

Mr Abbari said there is "no space in anger" in the months following the attack, adding that anger "doesn't fix anything."

"You've got to believe that it's only love that can last. You have to believe in it, you have to make it your goal, and you don't have to judge people.

"The hate – when you look at it, when you break something – you're not going to get it back, but when you love something and look after it, it will last for a long time."

He said he does not have any room for hate in his heart, noting that Muslim society also "don't actually believe in the hate."

"They believe in the need of each other, the help, and we should be there for each other," he said. "That's the way we live today."