Thousands are expected to attend services around the country
tomorrow and on Friday to remember former South African
president Nelson Mandela.
The services will take place in Auckland, Hamilton,
Wellington and Christchurch, with speakers including former
race relations conciliator Gregory Fortuin, mayors,
politicians, representatives from the South African community
and other dignitaries.
The Auckland service will take place at Parnell's Holy
Trinity Cathedral on Friday.
Dean Jo Kelly-Moore, who will lead the service, said she
expected the roughly 1000-seat church would be filled to
"We have a significant and important South African community
Dean Kelly-Moore expected it would be an emotional service.
"You have that sense of a man whose life and sacrifice
touched the world, not only the shores of his own land."
Speakers at the Auckland service would include Mayor Len
Brown, Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff and Dame Cath Tizzard, who was
Governor-General at the time of Mandela's presidency.
The Wellington service, which will be held tomorrow, will be
led by Reverend Brian Dawson, who was prepared for a crowd of
between 2000 and 3000.
The service was a chance for people to "reflect on what
Mandela was to the world".
There was a large South African community in Wellington, but
Reverend Dawson expected all nationalities would attend the
"Certainly for the South African community in general, it is
something that is particularly important to them, but there
is a feeling from all New Zealanders who have a connection
Included in the service will be a song written especially for
the occasion by hymn writer Shirley Erena Murray.
Speakers at the service will include Labour Party MP David
Shearer, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and South African High
Commissioner to New Zealand Zodwa Lallie.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the service at the
Cardboard Cathedral would help many in the city to express
their depth of feeling towards Mandela.
"Nelson Mandela was a leader whose lifelong commitment to
equality and fair play inspired admiration around the globe."
Services venues and times
Wellington: TSB Bank Arena, Thursday, 12pm;
Christchurch: Cardboard Cathedral, Thursday, 5.30pm;
Auckland: Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, Friday, 12pm;
Hamilton: Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia, Friday, 4pm