Yesterday I travelled to Christchurch to meet with several agencies involved in the response to the tragic events of Friday 15 March.
I met with frontline service delivery staff at MSD and school support staff at Education. I also visited many agencies involved with safety and security at the airport and in the city.
I was incredibly impressed with the empathy and commitment each one of those staff had for the victims, their families and the wider community.
To each person I met, my message was simply this: Thank you. Thank you for your work, for going above and beyond, and for demonstrating what compassion and caring really means.
Unsurprisingly, just about every single person I spoke to told me: “we are just doing our job”.
While that’s true, it is much more than that to everyone in the community and further abroad. When events like this happen, people will often turn to the Government and the Public Service for guidance and support. Everyone I met showed through their compassion why that is the case.
To those staff I didn’t get around to meeting, and those staff across the country who are still working tirelessly on this response: Thank you!
It’s not the event that defines us. It is how we respond – and how we respond together – that does.