After being praised for her response to the Christchurch mosque attacks, Jacinda Ardern told a vigil in Auckland that she has only “echoed the humanity of New Zealanders” in the days following the attacks.
Dressed in hijab as she has been all week, the Prime Minister spoke to the hundreds gathered at New Zealand’s biggest mosque, Masjid e Umar in Mt Roskill, for an open vigil for the victims.
She thanked the leaders of the Muslim community for their hospitality in the past week.
"At a time when it would have been completely justifiable to close the doors and lock the gates, you did the exact opposite and on behalf of New Zealand, we thank you for that,” she said.
“I thank you also, for your kind words, I am humbled by them."
“But I believe what I have done has not been about leadership. All I have done is simply echoed the humanity of New Zealanders.”
Jacinda Ardern confirmed a national memorial service is planned for next week.
Mosque chairman Ahmed Bhamji was tearful as he addressed the crowd.
But he told 1 NEWS the open days across the city have helped demystify Islam for many New Zealanders.
“It’s very important from now on everybody will know that we have to be with each other,” Mr Bhamji said.
“It’s humbling, it’s gratifying, it is unbelievable the support we have received from the entire community across the spectrum.”