Wellington, New Zealand - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern choked back tears on Monday while offering a heartfelt apology to the family of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane, as the man accused of killing the young traveller made his first court appearance.
Her voice cracking with emotion, Ardern said there was a collective feeling of shame in the South Pacific nation over the fate of Millane, whose body was found Sunday in parkland just outside Auckland.
"There is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality, on our manaakitanga," she said, using the Maori word for welcoming others.
"So on behalf of New Zealand, I want to apologise to Grace's family - your daughter should have been safe here and she wasn't, and I'm sorry for that."
Ardern told reporters at her weekly media conference that New Zealanders were heartbroken for Millane's family and were feeling her death personally.