Haka for Christchurch massacre victims at Perth Mosque

Haka for Life founder Leon Ruri reflects on the need to speak out to create a harmonious society. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
Haka for Life founder Leon Ruri reflects on the need to speak out to create a harmonious society. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

HAKA for Life founder Leon Ruri says speaking out is as powerful as the Maori hakas he organised to support Perth’s Muslims after the Christchurch massacre.

The haka will take place at Perth Mosque, William Street, Northbridge, about 1pm tomorrow.

“You’ve got to speak. It’s not always effective for us to be quiet, and in moments like this, and when we look at Harmony Day yesterday, to understand each other is an action, and the start to talking,” Mr Ruri said.

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Mr Ruri said the hakas would show the community’s good intent, after the alleged murder of 50 Muslims by an Australian right-wing terrorist in the South Island city last Friday.

A campaigner for mental health, Mr Ruri has organised the Haka for Life at Perth’s Anzac Day ceremonies since 2017.

He subsequently did a haka for the first time on the Sydney harbour bridge, and Haka for Life’s float highlighted LGBQTI suicide prevention at that city’s Mardi Gras this year.

Asked what he had learnt in the past two years, he said people segregated themselves and divided society with inaccurate views about colour, nationality and religion.

“Realise that we are all different in each way, whether it be through colour, culture, race or nationality, and take that time to sit down and understand each other,” he said.

Tomorrow’s haka and Aborignal corroboree for life will make a stand for “love and reflection” to support Muslims.

“When you perform a haka you are literally using every ounce of your energy that you have, every muscle in your body, every part of your being, to focus your energy to deliver that message that is being delivered,” Mr Ruri said.

Symbolism is needed.

“The deed of giving flowers or just acknowledging somebody is such a powerful emotion that is very, very absent quite too often in life today, and I think if we are able to bring that back to acknowledge everybody’s contribution, no matter where they come from in our world, then that’s a good platform for us to start building a harmonious community.”