In response to Fridays horrific and sad events the MOE has issued the following SUPPORT INFORMATION.
Follow up – Support Information from Auckland Director of Education
Kia ora koutou,
Recent events in Christchurch have increased parents’ concerns for the safety of their children and whanau, and Police are working directly with a number of schools. Please contact Police directly on 0800 115 019 if you have security-related questions.
Netsafe has received a number of reports of online content relating to the attacks in Christchurch. Footage of the attacks has been deemed objectionable under New Zealand law which means that possessing or distributing the footage is an offence. Anyone who finds footage of the attacks online should report it to Netsafe at netsafe.org.nz/report but they should not keep copies or share it. Netsafe encourages schools to speak with students about what to do if they come across the footage and about the fact that sharing the footage with this classification is against the law.
The footage of the Christchurch attacks is disturbing and will be harmful for people to see. If students have viewed the video and are struggling with what they have seen it’s likely they will require additional support. Agencies which can provide free support include Youthline, Need to Talk and Kidsline
While the content is online there is some risk that children or young people may come across it. Netsafe encourages schools and parents to proactively discuss with young people what they should do if they come across distressing content online. Further information is available at netsafe.org.nz/upsetting-content
If parents or schools have questions relating to this incident or other distressing online content they can contact Netsafe for free and confidential advice at netsafe.org.nz or call 0508 NETSAFE.
We would like to remind you to please contact our Traumatic Incident team at any time if you need advice or guidance around supporting your school community, remembering that as well as those directly impacted by this event, those who have experienced trauma in the past can experience increased distress after an event like this.
The contact number for the Traumatic Incidents service is 0800 848 326.
Higher levels of stress and anxiety may have led to some children thinking that school is not a safe place at the moment.
If there are children not attending school or early learning this week, we recommend that you contact the parents and provide reassurance that schools and early learning services are safe places. Contact us on 0800 848 326 if you need further support with this.
The Ministry of Health have created advice specific to this incident which is being translated into a number of languages. This can be accessed at
I have copied below some advice that we have been provided regarding cultural awareness for working with Muslim communities that you may find helpful.
Cultural Awareness for working with Muslim communities
Islam is the name of the religion and Muslims are the followers of this religion.
The body is buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours, to free the soul from the body. Death is considered as one of the most important stages in a person’s journey to God therefore the process of burial is hastened for this important meeting.
Preparing the body before Burial
The body is bathed and covered in white cotton. Women are prepared women for funeral and men prepared by men. Muslim funerals generally do not have a viewing but after the body is prepared, close family members say their good byes and recite the Quran before it is taken for burial. The body is turned to face towards Mecca, the holy centre of Islam.
What happens during funeral Service
A Muslim funeral generally takes place in a mosque or a family member’s home, People sitting next to the body read from the Qu’ran. An Imam (an Islamic leader) presides over the service. The body only stays in the house after the prep for a few minutes for families to say their good byes and it is done by close family members only. The body is then carried to the graveyard by men. A procession of friends and relatives follow. In the Islamic tradition, only men are allowed to attend the burial, although some Muslim communities also allow women to be present.
What happens at the graveyard
Following the completion of the funeral prayers, the congregation will line up in rows and pass the coffin from shoulder to shoulder towards the gravesite for burial. Non-Muslim mourners should keep at a respectful distance to allow the coffin to be carried. No discussion takes place at the time of burial, but all guests pray for the soul of the departed. (Please note: how the body is carried to the burial ground is different in different cultures, not everyone uses a coffin)
What happens after a Muslim funeral?
After the body is buried, all guests go to the house of the family of the deceased. During this time, the family members congregate to pray for the deceased and console family members. Usually the community provides food for the bereaved for the first three days after the funeral. Under Islamic funeral customs, the mourning period for a relative is typically 3 days. In some cultures the mourning occurs for 40 days but can often vary depending on the family.
Muslim funeral etiquette for non-Muslims
Both men and women are expected to dress modestly. Also be aware that shoes must be removed to enter the prayer hall of a mosque. Therefore you may want to wear presentable socks, tights or stockings. If arriving late, guests should simply join in. Guests should not take photos or use recording devices unless permission is given by family members. White is the Islamic colour of mourning but this is not a strict requirement. Guests of the same sex should greet each other with a handshake and hug.
Dealing with Muslim Community affected during a crisis
Welcoming back a child or young person into the school community
Try and use the greeting in the language of the person where possible. As-salāmu ʿalaykum is a greeting in Arabic that means “Peace be upon you” or use Salaam which is commonly used by all. You will treat the child or young person like any other child affected by this kind of trauma. Give them space and time to talk about it at their own time. They might feel more comfortable talking about it with someone from their own community where possible. It is also important that families are consulted before any discussion takes place.