A woman lays flowers at a tribute to those who died in the Christchurch massacre. Picture: Getty
A woman lays flowers at a tribute to those who died in the Christchurch massacre. Picture: Getty

Warriors to open the gates after Christchurch tragedy

AT THE world struggles to comprehend the heinous act carried out in two Christchurch mosques on Friday, the New Zealand Warriors have opened their doors.

While many thought the team's Saturday afternoon game at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium would be called off, the team will not only take the field but are calling for as many fans to attend in the wake of the terrorist attack.

The team announced on Saturday morning all remaining tickets to their clash against the Canterbury Bulldogs would be available free of charge.

Club chief exexutive Cameron George said the decision had been made to encourage the public to show unity at the game.

"We are all devastated and in shock about what happened in Christchurch yesterday," he said in a media release.

"New Zealand is hurting. We are New Zealand's team in the NRL and we want the public to join us this evening to acknowledge collectively those who have been affected by the heinous act in our country.

"Let's use tonight's match as an opportunity for the New Zealand public to stand shoulder to shoulder.

"Let's stand as one tonight. We will not be deterred. Our house is your house and anyone is welcome."

The club confirmed a strong police presence would be in force at the stadium along with additional security staff.

"In light of yesterday's tragic events in Christchurch, we have proactively worked with the relevant agencies to enhance the security measures in place at Mt Smart Stadium for today's event," Auckland Stadiums acting director James Parkinson said.

"These measures will be evident for all that attend and we do ask for people to arrive earlier than usual.

"Please also take note of our Text Assist service where you can report anything directly to our Venue Operations Centre - simply text the word ASSIST then your message to 260."

The Warriors will wear black armbands and also observe a minute's silence prior to the start of the game.