The Sikh community in New Zealand, following the terror attack on mosques in central Christchurch which claimed 50 lives, stepped up to help the victims’ families in every way possible.
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Guru Nanak Community Kitchen based in Auckland and various Gurdwaras started providing langar (community food), accommodation, free transportation, funeral services and providing Muslim community space for their religious prayers.
One of the founding members of this NGO who did not want to be named, said, "after the terror attack in Christchurch a message was sent out to our community requesting volunteers to help with manpower in the aftermath of Christchurch terror attack. Thus over four hundred volunteers came forward and many of them went to Christchurch to help out. As we had received requests from our Muslim brothers for washing bodies, digging graves, providing transport, accommodation, food and other logistics".
"The Jagat Guru Nanak Sahib Gurdwara (Sikh temple) in Christchurch which is close to the hospital and the mosque is now working with our NGO. The people from the Muslim community who are based out of Christchurch and needed a place to stay are being referred by us to the Gurdwara as it is providing free accommodation and food to the needy. It is also providing free transportation to people who need to visit families or be picked up from the airport," he added.
Apart from the above-mentioned services, the NGO has reached out to other Gurudwaras in Auckland to offer a safe space for the Muslim brethren to offer their prayers.
The Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen was started in on April 21, 2007 in Auckland by a group of six like-minded people who wanted to tell and teach the locals in this small island country who are Sikhs as the people though there that Sikhs are Muslims only as these men wanted to tell them (locals) about the Sikh religion, help the homeless, make them comfortable and provide other necessities.
"Our group who are serious about helping around New Zealand in whatever way purely works with the help of volunteers who come out to help as and when their services are needed. Our purpose is to coordinate resources such as manpower, food, water equipment, people with specific skill sets at times of natural disasters, emergencies etc," he said.
Also, another NGO Sikh Sangat New Zealand is also helping in the same way in this time of crises.