Christchurch you are us / Aroha Nui concert crowd drives in more than one way



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Lord duet with Marlon Williams.

Iain McGregor / Stuff

Lord duet with Marlon Williams.

A concert honoring the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attacks was about "getting out of the dark and getting into the light," said host Mike King.

King, a comedian, mental health advocate and newly crowned New Zealander of the Year, opened the show You Are Us / Aroha Nui in Christchurch on Wednesday night with the moving reminder of the program's goal.

The charity concert was set up to gather people and raise funds for the victims of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, where 50 people were shot and killed in two mosques in Christchurch.

The crowd reacts when Dave Dobbyn performs at You Are Us - Aroha Nui at Christchurch Stadium.

Iain McGregor / STUFF

The crowd reacts when Dave Dobbyn performs at You Are Us – Aroha Nui at Christchurch Stadium.

Just over a month after the tragedy, more than 28 New Zealand artists teamed up to perform for a crowd of just under 20,000 at Christchurch Stadium.

CONSULT MORE INFORMATION:
* Auckland concert for the victims of the mosque, a fun affair with poignant moments
* You are us / Aroha Nui: what you need to know
* You Are Us / Aroha Nui Shows: Few tickets for Christchurch remain, Auckland sold out
* Lord will make a special participation in Christchurch You Are Us / Aroha Nui
* Promoter confirms Christchurch You Are Us / Aroha Nui shows for Los Angeles and New York

King said the March 15 events taught him "a lot" about New Zealand and about himself.

John Toogood, with Shihad, performs at the charity concert.

Iain McGregor / Stuff

John Toogood, with Shihad, performs at the charity concert.

"[The Muslim community] taught me more about what it means to be a Kiwi than my own Kiwi brothers and sisters. "

Kiwi music royalty included Lord, Dave Dobbyn, Marlon Williams, Shapeshifter and The Exponents. Dobbyn opened the show with Welcome home and ended with a stage full of artists singing Piece of Heaven.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, appearing via video, reminded people to show aroha nui – great love – to all, and begged the community to unite.

Stan Walker performed an improvised national anthem.

Iain McGregor / Stuff

Stan Walker performed an improvised national anthem.

Highlights included the sweeping duel of Lord and Williams with Simon and Garfunkel. The sound of silence, Stan Walker's national anthem, an electrifying ensemble of Shapeshifter and another swinging hometown from The Exponents.

Lord told the crowd that it was an honor to play the show.

"I mean how I moved with what I saw in Christchurch this month," she said.

Concertgoers had messages of support at Christchurch Stadium.

Iain McGregor / stuff

Concertgoers had messages of support at Christchurch Stadium.

"For our Muslim community you have been so strong, so funny."

The first You Are Us / Aroha Nui concert was held on Saturday in Auckland. This event ran out in just over 24 hours.

All proceeds from both concerts will go to the Our People, Our City fund created by the Christchurch Foundation following the attacks.

Prayers were held at the beginning of the concert.

Iain McGregor / Stuff

Prayers were held at the beginning of the concert.

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