This is not the editorial I had originally written – that was altogether more anodyne. In that piece I had thanked departing colleagues Cassandra Fusco (Reviews Editor and valued institutional memory) and Erik Kennedy (Treasurer and poet, but remaining on our Board), and welcomed their replacements, Michelle Elvy (writer, editor, historian, founder of the New Zealand flash fiction journal Flash Frontier) and Sally Carroll (this year’s winner of the South Island Writers’ Association Ngaio Marsh Short Story Award) respectively. I had also acknowledged the sad passing of pioneer of New Zealand LGBTQIA writing Peter Wells (Ave atque vale, Peter).
Events in Christchurch have superseded this. A tragedy of unthinkable horror and evil has befallen a city still raw and traumatised from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The white supremacist terror attack on Christchurch’s Muslim community leaves us saddened and angry. Obviously there is little that can be said that doesn’t seem trivial or trite against the enormity of the events of March 15, and for people who love words it is incredibly frustrating not to have any up to the task. Our hearts are with our Muslim colleagues, friends, students, neighbours, their families, and those who came here seeking sanctuary. We grieve for those we failed to protect as a community. We scorn the repulsive and delusional ideology that spawned this atrocity that we never imagined could ever happen here – but did.
Words will have a role in the hope and healing that we will need as a community and a nation over the days and years to come.
Andrew Paul Wood
Art and Essays Editor