Listen: Josh Coombridge of Life FM in Auckland chats to Laura Bennett. Above: Tributes being laid near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch. A sign says “All Are Welcome”. Photo: Facebook, Al Noor Mosque
“Pray that the darkness doesn’t prevail,” was the request of one New Zealand radio host who spent Friday afternoon broadcasting live as the news of the Christchurch terror attack unfolded.
Josh Coombridge, a breakfast host at Christian radio station Life FM in Auckland, spoke to Hope 103.2’s Laura Bennett, asking people of faith to pray for the nation of New Zealand.
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He said the experience of reporting on the story took an emotional toll.
“I did my brekky show [on Friday] morning, went home and had a sleep, and woke up to this crazy news… so I drove straight to work and jumped back on air live for three and a half hours just reporting on it,” he said.
“I was pretty emotionally drained at the end of it. I went to sleep and woke up the next morning and started making my breakfast…and I just started crying—and I don’t really cry that often,” he said. “I think that I was upset because New Zealand has now changed forever.“
If You’ve Got Kiwi Friends, Support Them
Josh (pictured left) said it was sobering to realise that not even New Zealand was safe from terror.
“I think we hear about shootings in the US and terror attacks in Europe, and because we’re so far removed geographically from the rest of the world, I think we never expected anything like this to happen in New Zealand,” Josh said.
“I guess we thought that we were safe, and maybe we were naiive in that… we thought it was a sanctuary.”
He said that prayers and words of encouragement were very important right now for our New Zealand friends.
“Pray that the darkness doesn’t prevail and pray for the coming together of the nation as a big giant family,” he said. “If you’ve got Kiwi friends, just say ‘thinking of you, standing together with you’.”
Messages of support from overseas nations, as well as gestures like the silver fern symbol beamed onto the Opera House and the New Zealand flag being flown at 10 Downing Street in the UK, were heartwarming.
A City Already Traumatised
Josh said the first question on many New Zealanders’ minds when they began to hear the news of the mosque attack on Friday was, “hasn’t this city had enough?”, as residents are still recovering from the trauma the devastating earthquakes and aftershocks of 2010 and 2011.
“It was a city that was [already] brought to its knees,” he said.
The earthquakes, though, have made the city more resilient.
“It’s horrible to think about, but having been through [crisis] it makes you more prepared for it and makes you know what to do,” he said. “My cousin is married to a doctor at Christchurch Hospital and they have had experience with being overwhelmed with many casualties because of the earthquakes in 2011.
“There were close to 50 people in the hospital with gunshot wounds on Friday night ranging from two years old up to their 60s. That’s pretty high pressure on the Emergency Services and the hospital. But it is a city that maybe had the resources to deal with it better than another city in New Zealand.”
Life FM radio station is holding an on-air Day of Prayer on Wednesday, encouraging listeners to pray for the nation of New Zealand and for those affected by the shooting tragedy.