Students gather to remember lives lost in Christchurch terrorist attacks - 'It's really hard to hold back tears'

Young people grieving the tragic terrorist attacks in Christchurch a year ago have again come together to shine brightness in its wake.

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Event organiser Okirano Tilaia says the day is about empowering young people and grieving together. Source: 1 NEWS

About 100 students from throughout Canterbury turned out at Hagley Park today dressed in bright clothing to celebrate Colour Your Day.

They were also joined by more people from the rest of the country who wore bright clothes to school or work today. The event, organised by Cashmere High School's former head boy Okirano Tilaia, marks one year since the Christchurch terrorist attack at two mosques. On March 15, 2019, 51 worshipers were killed by a lone gunman.

Cashmere High School was particularly hurt by the attack - seven of the victims were connected to the school, as two of the dead were students there at the time.

"Personally, it's been an emotional journey, like even here today just thinking about it it's been really overwhelming, it's really hard to hold back tears," Mr Tilaia told 1 NEWS after the event.

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The Prime Minister reflected a year on from the terrorist attack at two Christchurch mosques. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Tilaia, who has received a leadership and inspiration commendation for the way he led the youth response after the tragedy, said the event was about showing "even in the dark times, light always shines through, it always shines through when we stand together as one".

"I knew and many of our young people knew that there's a national service to commemorate March 15th but there's no space for our young people to come together."

While last year thousands attended, Mr Tilaia said it wasn't about numbers. "Whether it's ten or 5000 it doesn't matter," he told 1 NEWS after the event.

"For me, it's been a state of really empowering the next generation."

Also at the event, University of Canterbury Muslim Students' Association president Bariz Shah talked about his struggles since the event, but added he had grown not only individually but with everyone else as well.

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Other students spoke, played music and sang at the event.

Funds raised by the event and school mufti days will go to St John. People can also donate to the cause online.