Hamish Ashton first learned of the Christchurch massacre when his son rang to say his University was in lockdown
Hamish Ashton first learned of the Christchurch massacre when his son rang to say his University was in lockdown Jann Houley

Kiwi's thanks to Rocky after heartfelt Christchurch response

Hamish Ashton discovered his home town was under attack when his son texted to say he was safe in lockdown.

"I'd seen something on the TV screen when I picked up lunch that day but it hadn't caught on what it was about,” said the Christchurch-born physio.

Mr Ashton's family remained in New Zealand when he moved to Rockhampton ten months ago to serve as senior physiotherapist with Vector Health.

His clients include players from the Capras and the Bluebirds football team.

Mr Ashton wrote to The Morning Bulletin to thank the locals who have joined in condemning the mosque attacks.

"Rockhampton's been really good; coming here on my own, I've felt really welcomed at work and at the clubs where I work,” he said.

"It was incredible to see so many people turned out to the prayer service on Friday night; whether it provides some sort of closure, we'll find out in weeks to come.”

MR ASHTON”S LETTER TO THE EDITOR

As a Christchurch born New Zealander currently living here in Rocky, the last week has been a difficult one. The events back home have been hard to understand. In any country including my own there is always those who are less tolerant of others but this was a shock to me and my home land. 

I would like to thank those of you who have shown support over the last week to the NZers and Muslims here, be it at the sports ground, the local mosque, or the service last night. 

What I can only hope is that this is not a celebrity response - a response that is expected but then life goes on and nothing changes.

It is obvious from social media that there are those that will open their eyes and work for the better good, but there are still those that don't understand the difference between acceptance of something different and loss of their own culture. 

Wearing a headscarf for a day to show support is totally different to changing the law so it has to be done. And for those that think this is a Muslim thing look at the nuns in the Catholic church. 

When anyone comes to a new place they keep some of their ways. Though we kiwis see you as our little brothers and sisters, we are still different. But that acceptance is what brothers and sisters do. No matter how long I stay here with you I will always support the All Blacks and jandals are jandals, not thongs. This does not mean I don't respect your ways, it's just people are different, and that's what creates progress. 

Be we be black, white, or blue. Be we be Aboriginal, Maori or Inuit. Be we Christian, Muslim, or Hindu. Strip back our skin and we are all the same - people trying to do the best for ourselves and our children. Let's hope we dont need more tradegies to continue to work down the path of harmony that this week has started. 

Hamish Ashton 



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