NEWS

Jacinda In Fiji: Finding ‘Heather’, New Zealand Prime Minister Steps In And Assures Victim’s Wife Of Help Finding Woman Who Helped

Saira Bibi Patel, lost her husband, Hafiz Kari Haji Musa Patel. Mr Patel was one of the three Fijians in the multiple mosque shootings on March 15.
28 Feb 2020 10:19
Jacinda In Fiji: Finding ‘Heather’, New Zealand Prime Minister Steps In And Assures Victim’s Wife Of Help Finding Woman Who Helped
New Zealand Prime Minister talks with Saira Bibi Patel at Lautoka Jame Masjid as President of the Fiji Muslim League, Hafiz Ud Khan and others look on, on February 27, 2020. Photo: DEPTFO News

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has assured the wife of one of the 51 Christchurch terror attacks casualties, that she would assist in finding a woman named ‘Heather’ who helped her on that fateful day.

Saira Bibi Patel, lost her husband, Hafiz Kari Haji Musa Patel. Mr Patel was one of the three Fijians in the multiple mosque shootings on March 15.

Almost a year later, Ms Ardern, on her first official four-day visit to Fiji unveiled the plaque at the Lautoka Jame Masjid yesterday, in an emotional ceremony to remember the fallen Fijians. This was one of her final engagements in the country before she left for Sydney yesterday.

Ms Ardern said she was working to put ‘Heather’ in contact with Ms Patel.

“I can see from the way she spoke, she has a real love for New Zealand so I am sure we will find a way to help them connect again,” she said.

Ms Patel said although it was an emotional time for her remembering her late husband one year on, she was still searching for ‘Heather’ who assisted her in searching for her late husband last year.

“So many people have applauded me for my bravery and courage and have told me that I can survive from here and I have to survive.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled a plaque (pictured) at the Lautoka Jame Masjid on February 27, 2020, which commemorated the Fijians who were killed in the Christchurch shootings on March 15, 2019. Photo: Salote Qalubau

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled a plaque (pictured) at the Lautoka Jame Masjid on February 27, 2020, which commemorated the Fijians who were killed in the Christchurch shootings on March 15, 2019. Photo: Salote Qalubau

She recalled the day she was introduced to ‘Heather’ and was immediately assisted by her.

“I told her my husband was shot in the Linwood Mosque. She had a son, he was a doctor at the hospital and then she drove me from Papanui to Al Noor Mosque. I think she was in her late 80s,” she said.

“We also drove past the community centre where I met Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and was greatly assisted by her.”

Ms Patel said on March 15, she would be travelling to Christchurch to be part of the one-year Remembrance Day ceremony and she hopes to meet ‘Heather’ again and thank her.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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