ASB Polyfest 2019 final day cancelled following Christchurch deadly shooting, authority says

The ASB Polyfest final day has been called off after the shooting in Christchurch this afternoon which killed 49 people.

Forty-one people died at the Deans Avenue mosque, while seven died at the Linwood Avenue mosque, and another person who was being treated at Christchurch Hospital has since died.

Another 48 people have gunshot wounds, with more than 20 in a serious condition.

The injured include young children, Radio New Zealand has reported.

Christchurch Hospital said operations will continue through the night on those people who are critically ill.

Police are in attendance at an address in Dunedin which they say is connected to the attack.

The New Zealand prime minister has described the mass murder as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and a clear terrorist act.

The Polyfest team have announced the cancellation on its Facebook page this morning.

“The ASB Polyfest Trust Board and ASB Polyfest Director have decided to cancel the final day of this year’s festival in light of the terrorist attack that has taken place at two mosques in Christchurch this afternoon,” it said.

“Chair of the ASB Polyfest Trust Gregory Pierce and ASB Polyfest Event Director – Seiuli Terri Leo Mauu said this evening “the safety and well-being of our student performers, and the public that come to enjoy the festival is always paramount in our planning.”

“Today’s events in Christchurch have unsettled some of our performers, Polyfest staff, schools and our sponsors, and to respect their well-being we have decided to cancel the final day of the festival.”

“If the event had gone ahead there would have been a significant presence of heavily armed police at the festival which would not have been appropriate for Saturday’s family day focus at the ASB Polyfest.”

The organisers will be available for media queries, at the Manukau Sports Bowl on Saturday morning at 10am.

***URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT*** Final Day of ASB Polyfest cancelled – 16 March, 2019The ASB Polyfest Trust Board and ASB…

Posted by ASB Polyfest on Friday, March 15, 2019

The Minister for Pacific Peoples MP Aupito William Sio also announced on Facebook that the festival has been called off as a result of the attack.

“ASB Polyfest 2019 final day (Saturday) is cancelled,” he wrote.

“NZ’s national security alert level has moved from low to high.”

The largest Māori and Pacific Islands Festival in the world kicked off on Thursday. 

The ASB Polyfest is one of the most iconic Auckland festivals and this year celebrates its 44th anniversary.

As Kaniva reported this evening, the Tongan and Pasifika communities were concerned on social media with many calling on authorities to cancel Saturday’s Polyfest events following the shooting.

“Should cancel it keep our families safe,” a commentator wrote

“It should because as an ethnic group, we are one of their targets,” another wrote.

“They should cancel it. No one knows all the connections. Better to be safe,” one wrote.

” There is always a follow on attack so better safe than sorry…”

However some commenters did not agree.

“it should not be cancelled a lot of schools have sacrificed a lot time and effort into this festival along with parents as well.”

Another said New Zealand shouldn’t let “terrorists change us as a nation.”

Events called off

The Prime Minister has cancelled her scheduled events after the shooting she described as “a terrorist attack and New Zealand’s threat level had been raised from low to high.”

Jacinda Ardern has been in New Plymouth for various announcements and a school visit. She had been due to open the Womad music festival this evening.

The third cricket test between the Black Caps and Bangladesh in Christchurch has been called off after the shooting which happened nearby.

The shooting happened just minutes away from Hagley Oval, where the test was set to be held, and the Bangladesh cricket team narrowly avoided the incident, having to flee the scene, New Zealand Herald has reported.

“The team had just arrived at the Al Noor Mosque for Friday prayer when a gunman opened fire, with video showing several Bangladeshi players and media escaping the scene.”FacebookTwitterGoogle+PrintEmailShare

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes safety is paramount.There’s always next year,and it’s showing respect to the Muslim communities/Families around Nz and abroard.

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