Polyfest students safety concerns mount after Christchurch deadly shooting

    The Tongan and Pasifika communities are concerned on social media with many calling on authorities to cancel tomorrow’s Polyfest events following the deadly shooting in Christchurch this afternoon.

    At least 49 people were killed in attacks on two separate mosques which
    were carried out by a white supremacist on Friday, officials said.

    Unofficial reports on social media said the Polyfest team were holding a meeting to discuss tomorrow’s events.

    “ASB Polyfest might be cancelled tomorrow. The festival team will confirm soon,” TVNZ’s Tagata Pasifika reporter John Pulu said on Facebook.

    The post has attracted a number of concerned commentators.

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

    “Should cancel it keep our families safe,” 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.”

    Polyfest, the world’s biggest Pacific Island dance festival, kicked off on Thursday in Auckland.

    The 44th ASB Polyfest, which runs until Saturday, was expected to see more than 12,000 secondary school students take to the stage.

    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.”

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