“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor even touched, but must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller
A tribute concert for the victims of the Christchurch terror attacks earlier this month was about “moving out of the darkness and into the light”, according to MC of the event and New Zealander of the Year, Mike King. Just over a month after the tragedy, more than 28 of New Zealand’s most beloved entertainers banded together to perform to a crowd of close to 20,000 at Christchurch Stadium. Dave Dobbyn was the first performer to hit the stage; the music veteran drawing thousands to their feet with Welcome Home, a 2006 song written as a message against racism which has become somewhat of an anthem for the country in the wake of the massacre.
‘Home’ became somewhat of a recurring theme at the You Are Us Aroha Nui concert. “Home is not a place, it’s the people that make a place home,” Shihad lead singer Jon Toogood announced to the crowd before launching into the band’s 1996 hit song, Home Again. The Christchurch Combined Choir performed three songs, joined by Jason Kerrison and Sol3 Mio respectively. The event held special significance for Sol3 Mio, who performed at the event, after the uncle of singer Pene Pati’s Egyptian-born Kiwi wife was one of those shot in the mosque massacre. “This song speaks of a world where every man, woman and child lives in peace … that world is here, that world is Aotearoa,” Pene says.
As the lyrics to Welcome Home tell us, “Maybe we’ll find that new way. So welcome home, see I made a space for you now. Welcome home from the bottom of our heart.”