According to the reports, over 5000 people have gathered to hear Nobel Peace Laureate and the spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the city. A CBS Canterbury Arena staff member told media that people had been steadily pouring into the stadium since 10am for the Tibetan spiritual leader's midday speech. Some arrived as early as 8.30am, she said.
His Holiness is visiting the city to show solidarity with the people in the country ahead of a visit to Australia. His Holiness said New Zealanders had always shown a genuine sense of concern for their fellow countrymen.
The 75-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader requested private meetings with people who lost loved ones in the February earthquake and at the start of the prayer meeting spoke briefly to each of the bereaved families. He also urged people to look to the future with a great sense of energy and enthusiasm. He also spent time with injured people and emergency staff at Christchurch Hospital.
This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama told about a dozen media that he was grieving alongside the broken city of Christchurch. Tibetan spiritual leader was welcomed on to the stage by iwi and received a standing ovation from the crowd. About 10 families of earthquake victims were given seating near the front of the stage, and His Holiness stopped to embrace family members before addressing the crowd for about 25 minutes, according the country media reports.
The spiritual leader said he wanted to share some of the city's "sadness". "When you face some tragedy, and lose some people and some damage, as a friend it is my duty to come and share in your sadness," he said.
His Holiness said Christchurch residents now needed to "build a new life and a new future". "In spite of tragedy, keep your self-confidence and work hard to build a new home, a new society and a new city,'' "Let tragedy transform into inner strength, determination and self-confidence."
Spreydon resident Susie Hoggard said she struggled to hear what His Holiness the Dalai Lama said because of the crowd, but enjoyed his "simple words of love and compassion". Mark Williamson, of Dallington, said His Holiness the Dalai Lama was "illuminating". "He just glows; he really does. It's great someone as important as he is has noticed the quake and taken the time out to see how we are."
On his arrival at Christchurch International Airport Yesterday, 7th June, more than 50 supporters greeted him. Some people were in tears, while others offered white scarves as blessings.
After the public event concluding with a prayer session and speech, the Buddhist leader visited earthquake victims and emergency staff at Christchurch Hospital.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visit Trust spokesperson Neil Cameron said that they are inviting bereaved families and the families of those who suffered injuries to attend and would provide pre arranged seating close to the stage for those who wished to contact them directly.