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‘We can’t just run away’: The everyday Kiwis who jumped into action during terror attack

“She was like, ‘help, help’. Then I saw the stabber, I was looking straight at him and he was like, ‘Allah, Allah’.

Police escort shoppers to their cars after the attack.

Police escort shoppers to their cars after the attack.Credit:Getty Images

“He looked like an evil guy. His eyes were wide, like he was fried or something.”

The man, maskless, was wearing a khaki top and camouflage pants and was holding a large chopping knife.

Nand saw two other victims by the milk and yoghurt freezer – one woman was hiding underneath a trolley to protect herself.

Auckland terrorist Ahamed Aathill Mohammad Samsudeen was shot dead at the scene of his attack.

Auckland terrorist Ahamed Aathill Mohammad Samsudeen was shot dead at the scene of his attack.

“There were a couple of guys beside me, I’m like, ‘we’ve got to do something, mate, we can’t just run away’. One guy had a pole with him, like the ones you see at a bank with a sign on top.

“I’m like, ‘you’ve got to go hit him and take the knife off him, and I’ll jump in and tackle him’.

“He wasn’t going to stop, he kept chasing people.

“We were about two metres away from him. I said ‘are you gonna hit him?’ and the guy said ‘I can’t do it’ so he gave [the pole] to me.

“We were about one metre apart and I told him ’drop the f…ing knife, drop the f…ing knife. He was like, ‘Allah, Allah’. He’s not gonna drop the knife.

“I wanted to hit him from behind because he had the knife waving at me.

“I stepped back and then he went past me a couple of metres. Then I heard an undercover cop say to me ‘stay back, stay back, I’ve got a gun I’m going to shoot him’.

“So I just stepped back and yeah, he unloaded five or six shots at him – bang, bang, bang in the chest area.

The attack occurred in a Countdown supermarket.

The attack occurred in a Countdown supermarket.Credit:Getty Images

“He didn’t say anything to him, he just told me to step back and …bang, bang bang. I thought he would say ‘drop the knife’.


“My opinion is he was going to kill more people and he’s not going to stop until someone killed him. You could see it in his eyes.”

Nand went back to the first woman he’d encountered. She was lying on the floor, her head on the bottom shelf, blood pouring from stab wounds to the hand and stomach.

“She didn’t want to move or get up. She asked me if the ambulance was coming. I said ‘yes, the ambulance is coming, just stay with us’.

“I gave her a baby blanket and a nappy, to stop the bleeding. I also got a pillow for her.”

Nand says the officer told him to watch the attacker.

“He says ‘go and guard the body, just in case it moves’. It was crazy. I’m like, ‘what do you want me to do? He’s dead’.”

Nand took a photo of the dead terrorist on his phone. It shows the bearded man sprawled across the nappy aisle on his back, a smear of blood by his left hand.

He doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“All I wanted to do was help the lady I saw. She asked for help and I thought ‘I need to do something, I’ve got three kids, I need to go home and sleep at night and not say I didn’t do anything’.”

Michelle Miller saw the action from a different perspective. She had arrived at the supermarket around the same time as Nand.

The 54-year-old mother of two grown children had until recently worked as a security guard, looking after props and equipment on the Lord of the Rings Amazon TV production.

But she had to quit her job about three months ago when she was hit by a car, badly damaging her ankle. During lockdown she’d been making arts and crafts for special needs children.

She left her home in Avondale and drove to New Lynn to get some milk and toilet paper from Countdown. She had just gone through the checkout when she heard a commotion.

“I saw this man with a knife and he was stabbing people, there was a lot of screaming. It was horrific.

“He just kept saying the same words, it was in a strange language.”

Miller says the man’s knife was big, “like a chopping knife”. Some of the victims were elderly. “I saw blood and people lying on the floor. I left my stuff there and ran out. As I went out the door I heard gunshots going off.

“My heart was racing, I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it.

“I take my hat off to the police, I really do. It wasn’t a cold-hearted killing. I mean, they gave him an opportunity – he didn’t take that opportunity to surrender himself and that’s when the police moved in and … shot him.”

Over at the hot chicken stand, Monica Seve, 19, and her boyfriend, Luciano Iketau, also 19, were looking for food to take on a visit to a relative’s grave.

Seve graduated in March from the New Zealand School of Tourism with qualifications in tourism, airline and flight attending and hospitality management. She’d currently a full-time house-keeper.

“I heard people screaming,” Seve says. “I started to walk over towards it, and everyone else turned around and said ‘run, he’s got a knife’.”

They ran outside to their car, which was parked right in front of the entrance.

“I saw this lady, she was holding her phone in one hand, you could tell she was one of the victims because she was walking really slow. We saw her hip was bleeding, where she’d been stabbed.

“I said ‘look, you’re in shock, you need to sit down’. All she said was ‘I’m so scared’.”

Seve sat the woman down by a trolley bay.

“I was taking off her sweater and someone came and said ‘you’ve gotta go, there’s a gun’. She got so scared she tried to hide between the two trolley lines. I said ‘we’ve got to go’ and she just got up and ran. She left her phone and bag behind.

“I wanted to find her in case she had run off and hid and was bleeding to death or something, but I couldn’t find her. I just had to trust someone had taken her to the hospital.”

She and Iketau found the woman’s driver’s licence and managed to get hold of her family to let them know what had happened.

“There was a lot of blood,” Seve says. “It had gotten on to my jumper and my hands and all over her jeans.

“I had a lot of adrenaline, I was surprised at how calm I was able to keep myself. Normally I would have probably passed out along with her.”

The woman’s husband later told Stuff she was in a stable condition “and should be OK”.

A man named Tim, who didn’t want to give his surname, arrived at the supermarket as people ran out “screaming hysterically”.

He passed a woman who’d been stabbed in the shoulder.

Inside, her saw an elderly man lying on the ground with a stab wound.

“He was lying right by the till ready to pay for his shopping – the poor guy.”

Tim says he’s had a lot of stuff happen in his past – “I even had a gun to my head, many years ago.

“So it doesn’t affect me as much as most people. I was gonna try and find this fulla and try and creep up behind him.

“I was gonna throw my Bibles at the hua. ’Cos that’s me, I’ll help anybody that’s in need when it’s life threatening.”

Before he could enter the main store, police officers arrived. A few seconds later, he heard gunshots, “bang, bang, bang, bang.”

Tim says he isn’t sorry the attacker died.

“I’m sorry to say, he deserves it. You know, going into a Countdown [supermarket], stabbing up innocent people, which is wrong.

“I’ve got a bit of mamae [hurt], I’m feeling a bit sad for the victims.”

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