Wellington - All Blacks back Sonny Bill Williams joined hundreds of fellow Muslims and thousands of other New Zealanders for Friday prayers at Hagley Park in Christchurch as the country fell silent to remember the victims of last week's shooting.
Williams, who converted to Islam in 2009, was given the week off by his Super Rugby team to work with the Muslim community as it deals with the last Friday's shooting, which killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch.
"I think we have to be gentle at the start because there are a lot of mixed emotions," Williams told TVNZ before the televised call to prayer and service at Hagley Park, close to the Al Noor mosque where a majority of victims were killed.
"You have just got to do what is best for the victims, but then moving forward I think something beautiful is going to happen."
The two-times World Cup winner, the first Muslim to play for the All Blacks, was visibly shaken by the shooting and posted a tearful message of support on his social media accounts, shortly after news of the incident broke.