News & Events

Flowers return to Cook Street Mosque

Wednesday December 18 2019

The flowers that lined the Palmerston North mosque after the Christchurch terror attack have been returned to the site – albeit in a slightly different way.

Photo shows councillors and council staff with the planters outside the mosque.

(Left to right) Dr Rasem Kayed, Waste Management Manager Stewart Hay, Councillor Zulfiqar Butt, Trade Waste Officer Mike Sahayam, Councillor Lorna Johnson, Parks and Reserves Manager Kathy-Dever Tod, Lina Jaffar, Ali Nasar and Chief Infrastructure Officer Tom Williams.

In the days that followed the March attack which saw 51 people killed and 49 people injured, communities around the country left flowers outside their local mosques in a sign of solidarity, strength and friendship.

Palmerston North was no different, with hundreds of bunches left outside the Cook Street site.

The Manawatū Muslims' Association asked the council for help with removing the flowers. Members from our recycling and compost team returned a number of times to collect the dying flowers.

Seeing the immense symbol these flowers represented, they came up with a quiet plan. Slowly they removed all the cards and messages and returned them to the centre. They then removed the paper and put the flowers in an isolated spot in our composting area.

The flowers slowly turned into compost. The team then built some planter boxes, and used the compost to plant day lilies.

Yesterday, representatives from the Council handed these over to the Islamic Centre.

Chief Infrastructure Officer, Tom Williams, says the attacks left a lasting impact on our city as well.

“Our Muslim community is so important to our city and we witnessed that in the days following the attack. This is just a small gesture to say to this community that they are so loved, and we hope that every time they walk past those planters they know that the whole of Palmerston North cares.”

Upon accepting the flowers on behalf of the centre, Councillor Zulfiqar Butt thanked the Palmerston North community for their love and support this year.