A raft of top-class sporting events were cancelled in New Zealand on Saturday as a traumatised nation started burying the dead from the worst peacetime mass killing in its history.
A gunman murdered 49 people and wounded more than 20 at two Christchurch mosques on Friday in a shooting prime minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as “a terrorist attack”.
While one National Rugby League match went ahead in Auckland, a horse racing meeting, a top-class rugby union match, a cricket Test and a host of netball games were all scratched from the schedules.
The Super Rugby clash in Dunedin between Otago Highlanders and Canterbury Crusaders, who are based in Christchurch, was called off out of respect for the victims and their families.
“Advice from police and venue management was that the fixture could go ahead. However, with strong agreement from both teams, we have made the final call not to proceed as a mark of respect for the events that have occurred in Christchurch,” New Zealand Rugby’s Nigel Cass said in a statement.