Christchurch community rallies to honour local victims of the mosque shootings

The Christchurch mosque shootings on March 15 took a terrible toll on one neighbourhood in particular, with four of the 51 victims coming from the suburb of Rowley.

Since the terror attack the community has rallied, providing much needed support to the victims' families. 

Today the community came together to hold a memorial for their loved ones and deliver a powerful message to the rest of the country.

When Newshub’s Mike McRoberts grew up there 30 years ago, Rowley was kindly described as working class, but it's always been rich in its heart and diversity.

For more than a decade it's been home to Farid Ahmed. His wife Husna was one of four Rowley residents killed in the mosque shootings three months ago.

He says the community support has been overwhelming.

"People are generous, neighbours are generous, Cantabrians are generous, Kiwis are generous so support is there, wonderful and I appreciate their support and kindness," Ahmed told Newshub.

That neighbourhood support and kindness was again showcased on Sunday. Hillmorton High School organised a multi-cultural, interfaith memorial service to show their love.

"They give me strength, they give me hope and this kind of response gives hope for all of us," says Ahmed.

This softly-spoken man became the face of our country's unity in the wake of the shootings, astonishingly forgiving the gunman and calling for peace.

"I feel I still have a good peaceful heart and I feel sympathy for him. I feel that if he had a good heart like me and New Zealanders he would have been in peace so I really feel sympathy for him and I pray for him," Ahmed said.

Today's service focused on the victims, the four Rowley residents honoured with speeches, candles and silence.

Farid Ahmed is now writing a book about his wife, which he hopes will help others, if not himself.

"And has that helped? Writing this book about your wife?" Newshub anchor Mike McRoberts asked Ahmed.

"In terms of grieving, I don't know. I don't know because when I write probably I sob more. Is it helpful or not, time will tell," he replied.

This is all about the future, ensuring the unity found through terror isn't lost.

"I love this country, so much... after 15th of March, the way Kiwis reacted, they did not look at us as Muslim, they looked at us as human and Kiwi and that is wonderful... we need to maintain that."

And services like this one can only help.