I am an immigrant. All I ever wanted was for me and my family to be safe. To have an ordinary, peaceful life. For that I have sacrificed a great deal. Family connections, the comforts of home and familiarity, the support system of grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, to stand as one with your countrymen. Leaving all that behind is not easy, and most people do that only because they want to do better for their children. Because the daily fear and destruction, and the loss of a feasible future outweighs the immediate comforts lost in transplanting yourself in foreign soil.
And that is why yesterday's attacks on mosques in our adopted city hit me so hard. A large percentage of these people would be immigrants, just like me. They would have chosen to leave their country, their homes, behind, for a safer life. I know what that feels like. They would have made many sacrifices, emotional and financial, to start a new life, just like me. And then, to have their den so brutally invaded and lives so savagely and calculated taken, is simply heartbreaking. I am so grateful to not have to add the "just like me" to this last part. But I do identify, and my heart is broken for this new suffering that was brought over the path of many who has already suffered so much.
Yesterday, I have also seen how the people we live among now, ordinary New Zealanders, were shaken and traumatised by what happened on this terrible day. How they experienced this as their personal loss. Our loss.
I sit here, feeling that I want to help, somehow, but I do not know how. So I am offering a kind environment, a cup of tea, a little chat, a bit of distraction, a hug if you want one. Company, and togetherness, and hopefully a little comfort. To those affected, in any way. Our door is open.
I am Riana Auret, the owner of Handzon, and these are my personal views.