Dunedin vigil sees 15,000 unite to pay respects to Christchurch attack victims

Around 15,000 people attended a vigil in Dunedin to pay their respects to the 50 people killed in Friday's Christchurch terrorist attack.

Members of the public, along with University of Otago staff and students marched in silence to Forsyth Barr Stadium to attend the service.

The vigil opened with a karakia and a greeting from Matapura Ellison.

"Whatever your background, whatever your faith, whatever your community, we have gathered here today," he said.

A waiata by Otago University Maori Students Association followed before a prayer was read by Sheik Asrarul Haque. 

"Bless our country, and the people of our country with peace, and unity," he said.

"I ask Allah to bless those families that are suffering, with patience."

Dunedin's Mayor Dave Cull spoke to the crowd, beginning in English, Te Reo and Arabic.

"There is no point dwelling on the perpetrator. That only serves to validate him and his poisonous beliefs. We cannot help those who were killed. They are now in the care of the almighty," he said to the crowd.

New Zealand as a people and a nation have zero tolerance for, any, even causal expressions of racist putdown and hate - wherever it appears, he said. 

"Every unchallenged instance normalises and enables the ratcheting up of that abuse. This is the responsibility of all of us."