Women in morning to support.

Serena Stevenson


When I was asked to photograph the Auckland memorial for the Christchurch mosque shooting by the city, I was a little hesitant. I felt the pain, as the rest of New Zealand did from this national tragedy, but how was I to photograph an intimate gathering as a non-Muslim. I had lived with the faith for a few months in Egypt many years ago, so understood the protocol, but did not know how to approach this assignment. As I entered the green room at Auckland's Eden park, I soon realised I was the only female photojournalist/journalist, and my purpose became clear. There was a prayer ceremony in the woman's wing and I was given permission to photograph it.

During this past week many non-Muslim women wore the head scarf in respect for our fello kiwi's (New Zealander's) of Muslim faith. I wore a scarf and entered the large prayer room. There was an extreme energy of love, connection and welcome. This I felt throughout all of New Zealand, from our leaders, our churches, schools etc. We are a multi cultural nation, with a newly appointed young, female, new mum prime minister, the World was watching, and we needed to be united. And we were. I was absorbed by this unity on a real raw human level during this day 29th March 2019. I had not ever experienced to this magnitude before in my own country.

I feel the images illustrate this non bias, our woman representing, without rank or ethnic separation.

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  • A Muslim woman New Zealand police officer morns openly during the Auckland Memorial.

  • A strong but soft feminine police presents.

  • A strong but soft feminine police presents.

  • Local Muslim woman welcome local non-Muslim women.

  • Prayer

  • Thank you for coming.

  • Prayer

  • Young women gather during the memorial.

  • Young Maori women sing for the loss of the Christchurch Tragedy.

  • Young Maori women sing for the loss of the Christchurch Tragedy.

  • Mother and daughter.

  • A tear.

  • Strangers embrace.