Thousands expected at Mandela services

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 capacity.

"We have a significant and important South African community in Auckland."

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 service.

"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 with [Mandela]."

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; and
Hamilton: Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia, Friday, 4pm


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