When Hamilton resident Keshree Naidoo-Rauf heard more halal food was needed in Christchurch, she didn’t wait a minute to help.
Keshree heard the Victim Support Organising Committee in Christchurch was seeking pre-cooked halal meals they could easily distribute to victims and their families of the Christchurch mosque terror attacks.
Now Keshree and her father-in-law Mohammed Rauf, Keshree will cook and deliver 200 halal chicken pilau meals to Christchurch.
“I think it’s a great initiative, because it’s bringing the local community together. Everyone is finding ways to help and so this just another avenue to help the families that are affected,” Keshree said.
Keshree works at Unichem Pharmacy and is part of the Rototuna Business Network, a group of 20 businesses in the area.
The group has provided funding for food, packaging and the airfare to Christchurch.
Air New Zealand had also been helpful, providing space for six big chilly bins, Keshree said
“Hopefully people can see what we are doing and how easy it is to organise, and then other groups can do it throughout New Zealand.”
An Imam from Hamilton West Islamic Centre will bless the food before it’s prepared. Friends and members of the mosque will go to the house to help cook.
The New Zealand Muslim League will authenticate the meat is halal and their stamp will be on every package.
Mohammed is experienced in making bulk food for fundraising and weddings.
Making sure meat is halal is important to the Muslim culture, he said.
“What happens is we say a small prayer for slaughtering the animal – its just to get forgiveness from God and say hey we are doing this because we want to eat the meat, so we ask for a blessing first.”
The terror attacks have affected the entire Muslim community, he said.
“The whole community felt it because Jumu’ah is a prayer which is attended by every Muslim who is able to go. It’s a very important prayer, it’s the Friday prayer.
“But we are grateful to our country and the people who have supported us.
“Today I signed a petition for Jacinda to get the Nobel Prize, if she gets it I’ll be crying for hours because I feel so proud we have people in our country like our Prime Minister.”
The meals might be useful to families waiting in Christchurch hospital if there is not much halal food there, he said.
“I feel very honoured to have been asked to do this.”