Foundations set for massive Manurewa mosque
The foundations have been laid for a Manurewa mosque that, when complete, will be New Zealand's largest.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community last week held a ceremony to mark the start of work on the Dalgety Dr site. The site is in a largely industrial area.
The community hopes the mosque, which will hold about 600 worshippers, will be finished by May next year.
Community national president Mohammed Iqbal said: "We are earnestly praying and hoping that this will be [completed] in April next year, God willing.
"This project is an extremely important one for us because a mosque symbolises a house of peace and from here we intend to attract families from all walks of life... helping each other despite our beliefs."
Last Friday's foundation stone ceremony was an historic occasion and reflects the progress the Ahmadiyya Muslim community has made in the 25 years since it came to New Zealand.
In May the community began 12 months of events to celebrate its silver jubilee.
Iqbal was one of the Ahmadiyya community's founding members 25 years ago and he believes the community has made tremendous progress.
"We are doing our best to integrate into New Zealand society and to assist people as well.''
Community members contributed generously to the families of the Pike River mine victims, sent working parties to help clean up the liquefaction in the streets of Christchurch after last year's earthquake and gave financial support to the Christchurch earthquake appeal.
They also work with Immigration New Zealand to help with migrant resettlement programmes, organise charity walks to raise funds for the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind and arrange blood donation to the New Zealand Blood Service.
They also assist in relief efforts across the Pacific.
Other key events set for the jubilee year range from taking part in Feed the Poor Day, spreading peace pamphlets to at least 25 per cent of New Zealanders, launching the Te Reo translation of the Holy Quran and holding a peace conference in Auckland.