New Zealand - Life after the Terror Attacks
Fifty people were killed in the racially motivated shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in March. New Zealanders may never see their country or their way of life in the same way again. That was probably precisely what the gunman - an Australian citizen - intended: To show the world that nowhere is safe, not even a peaceful country like New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sought to distance the nation from the perpetrator and his values, emphasizing New Zealand was not a safe haven for extremists and had been chosen precisely because its values of tolerance and diversity were the very opposite of the terrorist's. But how will this affect New Zealanders in the future? How will people shoulder the weight of what has happened? Will it change these islands in the southern hemisphere? Will bridges be built between recent immigrants and the more established ones? Or will old divides reopen once more. Life in New Zealand today is, in any case, not quite as perfect as it appears from the outside. Poverty, alcoholism and hopelessness exist here, too, particularly among the Maori, the country’s aboriginal people. Despite the wealth of land, there is a lack of living space in the cities. And a growing number of voices are calling for less immigration and better education and training for the country’s citizens. New Zealand has always been a peaceful country and fatal shootings are far from being an everyday occurrence. But gun laws are very liberal here. The population numbers fewer than five million, yet there is an estimated 1.5 million shotguns alone in private hands. After the attacks, many New Zealanders decided to voluntarily surrender their weapons.