All aboard the Peace Train by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens): “Joy is not a bad thing”

Peace Train by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) debuts today. Photo: Christchurch City Council


A model train donated by the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens makes its first tour of Christchurch today.

Yusuf Islam offered his ‘peace train’ after the 2019 mosque attacks.

He praised Mahia Te Aroha, a municipal initiative formed after the attacks to spread peace and compassion.

Islam traveled to Christchurch after the attacks and performed his 1971 hit Peace Train at the remembrance service two weeks later.

“It’s just a small thing, a small boost, but it’s a sign of my connection to your beautiful country, your beautiful people and the hearts that have given so much to the world through this example,” said said Yusuf Islam in a video message. at the launch of Mahia Te Aroha.

Mahia Te Aroha co-founder Tony Green said Yusuf Islam has wanted to give back to the community for some time.

“What this will hopefully do is one thing is bring back some joy, joy is not a bad thing,” Green said.

“The big talk is social cohesion, which comes from the government and the royal commission, but you have to work for it and you have to create opportunities for people to come together and enjoy an experience.”

He said the artist was deeply touched and impressed by the country’s response to the terrorist attacks.

The train will take the South Hagley Park Trail, which adjoins the Al Noor Mosque.

A team of 40 volunteers will help operate the peace train, which is wheelchair accessible and can carry around 16 people.

It will run every first and third Sunday of the month, except in winter.