All Blacks and Blues star Sonny Bill Williams has given a heartfelt speech at Auckland’s Christchurch terrorist attacks remembrance service at Eden Park.
Williams spoke of the need for unity between all New Zealanders regardless of religion.
“As a Muslim, we believe that the Arab has no superiority over a non Arab, nor a black over a white, or a white over a black. At the very core of Islam is the fight against racism and hatred.
“A beautiful example of this was the diversity of people welcomed throughout mosques these past weeks,” Williams said.
He also praised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Kiwi public for their response to the horrific attacks.
“I just want to say to our New Zealand community from my heart the response has been beautiful.
“I am a proud Muslim and a proud New Zealander and the efforts led by Jacinda Ardern and fellow New Zealanders, I commend you, it has been special.”
He said the attacks also highlighted the “sad lack of knowledge” that many Kiwis have of Islam.
Williams says he hopes the public will continue to reach out to Muslims, who he predicted will then “reach out with our hearts ten-fold”.
“Let’s keep leading the way for the world to see how it’s done,” Williams concluded as his speech was met with applause.