The horrific Christchurch terror attacks in New Zealand: Live Updates

Live

Live Update:

Mar 15, 2019 9:07 AM
What we know:

  • A gunman walked into a mosque on Deans Ave, Christchurch carrying a semi-automatic weapon and opened fire. He live streamed the attack.
  • A second shooting occurred at a mosque in Linwood.
  • At least 49 people were dead as of 9pm – 41 at the Central Mosque, 7 at Linwood Mosque, 1 in Christchurch Hospital.
  • 48 people are in hospital with gunshots wounds as of 9pm, including young children. Other injured went to medical centres.
  • A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning.
  • He was arrested on Brougham St in a car which had explosives and guns inside.
  • The shooter identified himself as 28-year-old, Australian-born Brenton Tarrant.
  • None of the suspects were on any police or terror watchlists.
  • Two others remain in custody. A fourth person arrested on Friday was not related to these events, police say.
  • Christchurch Hospital had 12 operating theatres in use on Friday night. Some of the injured require multiple surgeries.
  • Families have shown up at the hospital and at the Deans Ave cordon seeking news of families members.
  • A missing people’s register has been set up at https://familylinks.icrc.org/new-zealand/en/Pages/Home.aspx
  • Families and friends can also register missing people on 0800 115 019.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls the attacks “NZ’s darkest day.”
  • This is the deadliest mass shooting on record in New Zealand.
  • Witnesses have described the horror of their “brothers” being attacked.
  • The Queen, US President Donald Trump and the Pope are among world leaders who have sent messages of sympathy to New Zealand.

Do you know more? comment below

What is known about the suspects?

The Christchurch mosque attacks were live-streamed on the internet by a man posting online under the name of Brenton Tarrant.

Police said three people were in custody and that a man in his late 20s had been charged with murder.

UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 5:22 PM

Mar 15, 2019 5:18 PM

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!

Mar 15, 2019 5:17 PM

Pope Francis is denouncing the “senseless acts of violence” in the Christchurch mosque shootings and is praying for the Muslim community and all New Zealanders.

In a telegram of condolences Friday, Francis offered his solidarity and prayers to the injured and those who are mourning lost loved ones, and noted that it was a particularly difficult time for security and emergency personnel.

He said he was “deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life cause by the senseless acts of violence at two mosques in Christchurch, and he assures all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks.”

The message sent by the Vatican secretary of state ended by saying: “Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of comfort and strength upon the nation.” – AP

Mar 15, 2019 5:15 PM
Stuff Editors
Worries for injured and missing

There are fears for the injured and missing in the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Haji-Daoud Nabi, who runs the Afghan Association, was attending Friday prayers at Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue and is unaccounted for, according to his son.

Omar Nabi said he had called his father several times on Friday but could not get hold of him.

He told Stuff: “I need to know if my father is OK. He’s a very humble man that’s helped a lot of people.”

Kamel Darwish is missing after attending Friday prayers at the Deans Ave mosque, his brother Zuahair Darwish said.

After going to the scene he was directed by police to Christchurch Hospital, but he could not find Kamel there so returned to the mosque on Friday night.​

There are 48 wounded in Christchurch Hospital. Of those, 20 are critical.

Brothers Zaid and Hamza Mustafa, who are students at Cashmere High School, were at the mosque in Deans Avenue when the shooting occurred, principal Mark Wilson said.

The boys, are in years 9 and 12, are in hospital, though the extent of their injuries is unclear.

A third boy from the school was unaccounted for, Wilson said.

Sheikh Hasan Rubel was shot and is in hospital, according to his friend Helal Uddin, president of the Bangladesh Club. His condition is unknown.

Mar 15, 2019 5:15 PM
A man lay on the ground of a mosque pretending to be dead after he was shot in the leg during the mass shooting in Christchurch.

Mustafa Boztas was listening to the sermon inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque when he heard gunshots on Friday afternoon.

“Everyone started running and screaming.”

Boztas ran to the corner of the room and was shot in the leg by the shooter and fell to the ground.

“I was on the ground faking it that I was dead … in my mind I was calm because I would be a martyr.”
Mar 15, 2019 4:24 PM

Queen sends condolences

The Queen has sent a message to New Zealand in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings:

“I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today.

“Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.

“I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.

“At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.

Elizabeth R.”
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 4:35 PM
Mar 15, 2019 3:45 PM
Joel MacManus
Dunedin properties evacuated in relation to mosque shooting
There is a heavy police presence at a property on Somerville Street, Dunedin.

Police confirmed it is a location of interest in relation to the mosque shooting in Christchurch. It is believed the address was connected to the vehicle the gunman was driving.

Properties in the immediate area have been evacuated as a precaution.

Alternative accommodation has been provided for residents requiring it and cordons are in place in the Somerville Street and Everton Road area.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 3:52 PM
Mar 15, 2019 3:29 PM
Joel MacManus
Extra blood donations not necessary
The NZ Muslim Association and other organisations had called for New Zealanders to donate blood. however, NZ Blood have confirmed their blood stocks are healthy and they do not need additional donors at this time.

UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 3:55 PM

Outpouring of condolences

On Friday night rain was falling on lit candles, handwritten notes and flowers set against a lamppost at the police cordon on Linwood Avenue, just down the road from the Linwood Mosque.

“Thinking of everyone on this most tragic of days,” said a note. “We are neighbors and community here in Linwood, our hearts are with you.”

Zion, 12, was one of the neighbourhood kids from Linwood Ave who lit a candle. He said he was at Hagley Park when one of the incidents unfolded.

“I saw heaps of people running and these people with army clothes shooting at the people, and a lady fell on the ground,” he said.

About 10pm a police dog unit sped through the Linwood Ave cordon with sirens blaring. It was unclear where the unit was headed.

From Harrison Christian in Christchurch

Mar 15, 2019 2:52 PM
Joel MacManus
Muslim Association asks NZ to pray together
President of the NZ Muslim Association, Ikhlaq Kashkari has thanked police and urged New Zealand to come together at this time.

Full statement:

“New Zealand Muslim Community is deeply shocked and horrified about the shootings in the Christchurch mosques.

Our heartfelt condolences are with the people and families that have been impacted by this incident. Our prayers and thoughts are with them.

I would like to express my gratitude to the New Zealand public, Police, politicians, and community leaders that have contacted us at this time.

NZMA urges all New Zealanders to stand together and not let this serious and tragic incident spoil the peace within our country.

We urge all Muslim doctors and medical practitioners in the area to provide the necessary support to the community and help the affected people in Christchurch.

We urge all New Zealanders including our Muslim Community who are in the nearby areas to donate blood.
We urge all New Zealanders to stay calm and united. We cannot allow these types of people divide our community.

I urge all New Zealanders to come together and pray for peace.

May Peace Be Upon You All”
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 2:58 PM
Mar 15, 2019 2:45 PM
Joel MacManus
Muslim Association calls for blood donors
The New Zealand Muslim Association is asking all New Zealanders in the area to donate blood. They also sent a message to all trained medical professionals of Muslim faith to help support the community.

NZ Blood have since said that they do not need additional donations at this time.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 3:29 PM
Mar 15, 2019 2:23 PM
Joel MacManus
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

InsideOUT
@insideoutkoaro
Update: Out in the Park and the Pride Hīkoi are CANCELLED tomorrow based on Police advice. Sending our love to you all in this time.

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1:52 PM – Mar 15, 2019
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Mar 15, 2019 2:11 PM
Joel MacManus
The flag on top of the Beehive is flying at half-mast.

The list of recent occasions when the flag was flown half mast can be read here:

https://mch.govt.nz/nz-identity-heritage/flags/half-masting-new-zealand-flag-occasions

UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 2:14 PM
Mar 15, 2019 2:03 PM
Joel MacManus

Families in Christchurch are appealing for information about their missing loved ones.

Police are reminding people that they can register missing people on the Restoring Family Links website, or they can register themselves as alive.

When people fill out their information on the website, they can choose to make it visible to the public or have it kept private.

Missing people can also be registered on 0800 115 019
The website was activated by the Red Cross after a request from police.

Police are also urging people to continue to contact family and friends through their own means to confirm whether they are safe and well.

Commissioner Mike Bush said: “Police want to ensure the public we are doing everything possible to resolve this incident.”

Updates will be provided by police as they become available, and will be made public on the NZ Police Facebook page and website.

Families should register missing people using the below links:
https://www.police.govt.nz/
https://familylinks.icrc.org/new-zealand/en/Pages/Home.aspx
Mar 15, 2019 1:56 PM
Joel MacManus
Plea for missing brother
Zuhair Darwish was standing at the cordon on Friday night making an emotional plea for any information about his brother, Kamel Darwish, who attended the mosque during the shooting and is missing.

He said he came to the cordon when the incident unfolded and police directed him to the hospital, but his brother wasn’t there. So at 9pm he was back at the cordon, pleading with police for help. The officers stood by with assault rifles and were unable to assist him.

“I know it will take time, but nine hours? Come on guys. We just need to know anything. Any information.”

Mar 15, 2019 12:20 PM
Rose
Any news on the explosions in Britomart?
Mar 15, 2019 1:46 PM
Yes, two bags were left unattended on Galway Street in central Auckland around 5pm. Police formed a cordon around the area, and the Defence Force was called in to carry out a controlled explosion.
It does not appear to be linked to the Christchurch shooting.
Mar 15, 2019 1:43 PM
Joel MacManus
Christchurch Hospital was not targeted
Early reports by some media outlets that shooters had targeted Christchurch Hospital were not accurate, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
Mar 15, 2019 1:39 PM
Joel MacManus
Man charged with murder
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, and is expected to appear in Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.
Mar 15, 2019 1:38 PM
Stuff Editors
Firearms secured from both scenes, no other threats

“We have recovered a number of firearms from both of the scenes,” Police Commission Mike Bush said.

The Police Commissioner said, “I would like to assure everyone around New Zealand that every available police and emergency resource with our government agencies and defence forces are doing everything they can to keep our community safe.”

Since the original incidents, there have been no other threats in the Christchurch region. “We have had no other threats since we’ve responded to this incident,” Bush said.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 1:40 PM
Mar 15, 2019 1:36 PM
Stuff Editors
49 people have died

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said, “the total number of people who have died in this horrendous event are 49”.
Mar 15, 2019 1:34 PM
Stuff Editors

Mar 15, 2019 1:25 PM
Stuff Editors

Theresa May

@theresa_may
On behalf of the UK, my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence.

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1:16 PM – Mar 15, 2019
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Mar 15, 2019 1:14 PM
Joel MacManus
Victim Support Fund

Victim Support has set up an official fund for the victims of Friday’s terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques.

Donations can be made at givealittle.co.nz/cause/christchurch-shooting-victims-fund

All donations received through the fund will be ring-fenced to provide resources and support to those affected by the tragedy.

Victim Support, the Government’s primary provider of services and support to those affected by homicide in New Zealand, is responding to referrals as received from the public and Police. It will continue to do so through the night and the weekend.

Anyone affected by the incidents is encouraged to contact Victim Support on its 24-hour crisis line – 0800 VICTIM (0800 842 846).

Mar 15, 2019 12:56 PM
Stuff Editors
Teenage boy ‘unaccounted for’ following terrorist attacks

From reporter Adele Redmond:

A teenage boy is “unaccounted for” following the terrorist attacks in Christchurch.

Cashmere High School principal Mark Wilson said three of his students – two brothers, respectively in year 9 and year 12, and the third boy – were at the mosque in Riccarton when the shooting occurred.

The brothers, understood to be Zaid and Hamza Mustafa, are injured and in hospital. The severity of their injuries is not known.
Wilson said he had been in contact with the family of the third, whose whereabouts are unknown at this stage.
Mar 15, 2019 12:53 PM
Stuff Editors
Public tours in Parliament have been cancelled for Saturday.
Mar 15, 2019 12:52 PM
Stuff Editors
‘Evil has come to this city today,’ say locals

From Blair Ensor at the Deans Ave cordon:

Wendy and Andy Johnson drove from their home in Belfast, in north Christchurch, to lay a large fern and lilies at the cordon about 7.30pm.

“We cut the silver fern out of our garden just to let all our Muslim community know that our hearts are breaking for them today and we stand with them in solidarity with them,” Wendy Johnson said through tears.

“They have a god damn right to pray how they want to in our city without judgement or murder. It’s just appalling this has happened in our city.

“We’re lucky we’ve got each other … there are families whose loved ones are still down there in a crime scene.”
Andy Johnson said: “It’s just evil. Evil has come to this city today.”
Andy and Wendy Johnson deliver flowers to the Deans Ave cordon.
Andy and Wendy Johnson deliver flowers to the Deans Ave cordon. credit: George Heard/Stuff
Mar 15, 2019 12:51 PM
Stuff Editors
Man pleading for sightings of his father

From reporter Sam Sherwood:

A man is pleading for sightings of his father, believed to have been inside a mosque during the mass shooting.

Omar Nabi said his father, Haji-Daoud Nabi, who runs the Afghan Association, was inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque at the time of the shooting.

He had since tried calling him several times but could not get hold of him. He was heading to the Christchurch Hospital for more information.

“I need to know if my father is OK.”

“He’s a very humble man that’s helped a lot of people.”

Nabi last spoke to his father on Friday morning before leaving the house. He was due to attend the prayers on Friday also but was unable to attend.
Mar 15, 2019 12:23 PM
Stuff Editors
Here is the Prime Minister’s full speech.

“I have now had the opportunity to be fully briefed with the details of the unprecedented events that took place in Christchurch this afternoon,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Addressing the nation from the Beehive tonight, the Prime Minister said: It is with extreme sadness that I tell you that as at 7pm tonight, we believe that 40 people have lost their lives in this act of extreme violence.

10 have died at Linwood Avenue Mosque, 3 of which were outside the mosque itself.

A further 30 have been killed at Deans Avenue Mosque.

There are also more than 20 seriously injured who are currently in Christchurch A&E.

It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack.

From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. Two explosive devices attached to suspects’ vehicles have been found and they have been disarmed.

There are currently four individuals who have been apprehended but three are connected to this attack and are currently in custody, one of which has publicly stated that they were Australian born.

These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.

While we do not have any reason to believe at this stage that there are other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage. The joint intelligence group has been deployed and police are putting all of their resources into this situation.

The defence force are currently transporting additional police staff to the region.

Our national security threat level has been lifted from low, to high. This I want to assure people is to ensure that all our agencies are responding in the most appropriate way. That includes at our borders.

Air New Zealand has cancelled all turbo prop flights out of Christchurch tonight and will review the situation in the morning. Jet services both domestically and internationally are continuing to operate.

There is heightened security, so we can assure people of their safety and the police are working hard to ensure people are able to move around their city safely.

I have spoken this evening to the mayor of Christchurch and I intend to speak this evening to the imam, but I also want to send a message to those directly affected.

In fact, I am sure right now New Zealand would like me to share a message on their behalf too.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who have been impacted today. Christchurch was their home. For many, this may not have been the place they were born, in fact for many, New Zealand was their choice.

The place they actively came to, and committed to. The place they were raising their families. Where they were parts of communities that they loved and who loved them in return. It was a place that many came to for its safety. A place where they were free to practice their culture and their religion.

For those of you who are watching at home tonight, and questioning how this could have happened here.

We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate.

We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism.

We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of those things.

Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who needs it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.

We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.

And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this.

You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you.

UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 12:25 PM
Mar 15, 2019 12:23 PM
Stuff Editors
Mosques across the country have closed for the night at the urging of police, but people wanting to pay their respects to those killed have laid flowers and notes of sympathy outside their doors.

Julia Maskell and Kim Elliot were strangers when they met outside Mt Albert mosque in west Auckland.

The two women left flowers at the mosque’s gate and stood with their arms wrapped around each other.

“We just brought flowers because hate can happen anywhere but so can love and I think that in times of pain it’s important that people show love to remind everyone that it’s still here and that people aren’t alone,” said Elliot.

“I didn’t know what else to do except bring flowers and just to be here, not to leave alone.”

Maskell said she just wanted to show how sad she was.

“It’s just so terrible. I’m so sorry. It’s a very, very sad day for New Zealand. I think we’ll look back on it.”
Strangers unite to place flowers at Mt Albert mosque
Chris McKeen/Stuff
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 12:23 PM
Mar 15, 2019 12:13 PM
Stuff Editors

Livestream: Police are still at the scene of the Christchurch mosque shooting on Deans Ave.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 12:18 PM
Mar 15, 2019 12:12 PM
Stuff Editors
‘Mark yourself safe’ activated on Facebook

Facebook has activated its “mark yourself safe” crisis response for those affected by the Christchurch mosque shootings.

The feature was launched by Facebook in 2011 and was used only in natural disasters until the Paris attacks of 2015.

It works by letting users tell their Facebook friends they are safe. People in New Zealand can report themselves safe by visiting this page and clicking “yes”. Or alternatively, when users receive a notification from Facebook asking if they are safe, click I’m safe.

Since the Paris terror attacks in 2015, the crisis response feature has been activated in a number of terrorist attacks globally.
Mar 15, 2019 12:12 PM
Stuff Editors
Threat level lifted from low to high

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the threat level across the country has been moved from “low” to “high”.
Mar 15, 2019 12:11 PM
Stuff Editors
7.30pm update

40 people are dead after at least one gunman opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch during packed Friday prayers.

One gunman live streamed the attack and posted the video onto social media channels around the world. The horrific video shows multiple people being shot with an automatic weapon from the point of view of the shooter.

The shootings were at the Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave, and the Linwood Masjid on Linwood Ave on Friday afternoon. Armed police have also been seen at Papanui High School.

Several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were also found attached to cars in Christchurch city. The bombs have been assessed by the Defence Force and are now safe.

Four people have so far been arrested.

Mosques around New Zealand are currently under armed guard. New Zealand Police have warned Muslims to stay at home behind closed doors until further notice.
Mar 15, 2019 12:09 PM
Stuff Editors
Prime Minister condemns sharing of video

Ardern has urged people to stop spreading the video of the incident or other details from the attackers.

“What all of us can at least do is make sure we do not share, spread, or actively engage in that message of hate.”
Mar 15, 2019 12:07 PM
Stuff Editors
Asked if this was a new chapter for New Zealand, the Prime Minister said she absolutely did not want this attack to change anything about New Zealand.
Mar 15, 2019 12:02 PM
Stuff Editors
PM says those arrested were not on terrorist watch lists

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that those arrested are not on watch lists.

“I think we should be vigilant against extreme ideology and extreme violent acts,” Ardern says when asked if too much focus has been placed on Islamic-terror instead of white supremacist views.

Ardern says security agencies are and need to be blind to where it comes from – they simply need to be vigilant against violent extremism.

The Prime Minister says she will be asking questions of her security agencies about not seeing this earlier and about access to firearms.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 12:19 PM
Mar 15, 2019 11:57 AM
Stuff Editors
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern describes event as “terrorist attack”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern describes event as “terrorist attack” credit: Collette Devlin/Stuff
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern says.

She says it appears to have been “well-planned”. Two explosive devices attached to cars have been decomissioned by police.

Ardern says four people have been arrested, three are connected to the attack. At this stage the Government has no reason to believe there are any other suspects.

She says one of those arrested is Australian-born and has extreme views.

Ardern says there is heightened security all over the country.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with those that have been impacted today. Christchurch was the home of these victims. For many New Zealand may not have been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice.”

“It was a place where many people came for their safety. A place where they were free to practice their religion safely.”
“We were not a target because we were a safe harbour for those who hate,” Ardern says.

She says we were not chosen because we are a safe harbour for hate or racism or violence.

“We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things.”

She says our values will not be changed by this attack.
“You may have chosen us. But we utterly reject you,” she says of the attackers.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 12:07 PM
Mar 15, 2019 11:55 AM
Stuff Editors
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media following briefing

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is now speaking to media.

She confirms that as at 7pm 40 people have lost their lives.
Mar 15, 2019 11:55 AM
Stuff Editors

Mar 15, 2019 11:38 AM
Stuff Editors
Hello all, political reporter Henry Cooke here in the Beehive. We are expecting the Prime Minister to update us on the situation at around 7.10pm following a briefing from national security agencies and the police.
Mar 15, 2019 11:36 AM
Stuff Editors
Reporter Blair Ensor speaks from the police cordon at Christchurch mosque on Deans Ave, to provide an update on the current situation.
Update from mosque cordon
George Heard/Stuff
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 11:53 AM
Mar 15, 2019 11:30 AM
Stuff Editors
Green Party co-leader and MP ‘send love’ to affected communities

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and Green MP Golriz Ghahraman “send love” to the communities affected by the “shocking” event.

“Now more than ever, we all need to commit to never letting this happen ever again,” Davidson said.

“I don’t even have the words to express the pain and hurt people are feeling.”

Ghahraman says the events have been so shocking because they look like the kind of horrific thing that happens elsewhere in the world.

“As more of the facts come out, it will mean we will have to have some of the hard conversations and we will come out stronger as a result of that,” Ghahraman said.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 11:31 AM
Mar 15, 2019 11:26 AM
Stuff Editors
Australian PM Scott Morrison confirms arrested man Australian citizen

Australian PM Scott Morrison has just concluded a briefing with his authorities and agencies on the matter. He says it is for New Zealand to release details.

Morrison called it a right-wing terror attack.

He has been in contact with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. He says he agrees with her about it being the darkest day.

Australian agencies are working with NZ agencies.

He can confirm the individual in custody is an Australian-born citizen.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 11:49 AM
Mar 15, 2019 11:17 AM
Stuff Editors
Stuff reporter Oliver Lewis reports that questions are being asked of the nation’s security services in the wake of a mass shooting described as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

A gunman entered a packed mosque on Deans Ave, in Christchurch, about 1.40pm on Friday and opened fire. Another mosque in the suburb of Linwood was attacked shortly afterwards.

More than 30 people are feared dead in the attack, however, the number has yet to be confirmed. Four people, three men and a woman, have been taken into custody, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

Prime Minister Ardern has described the attack, which prompted the lockdown of Christchurch Hospital, schools and civic buildings throughout the city, as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

Read his full report here.
Mar 15, 2019 11:13 AM
Stuff Editors
Harrison Christian reports staff and passengers are on edge at Auckland Airport.

A staff member from Auckland Airport’s Aviation Security Service said there had been no official direction relating to the Christchurch incident, but “You can tell everyone’s on edge”.

Auckland Airport security was operating as normal on Friday night, as were flights out of Auckland to Christchurch, the staff member said.
Mar 15, 2019 11:08 AM
Stuff Editors
Reporter Mandy Te spoke to a woman who narrowly missed being at the mosque: A Muslim woman who was late to Friday prayers at the mosque on Deans Ave said she is sick to her stomach over the shooting.

The Christchurch woman, who did not wish to be named, said she has been going to the mosque with her children for two years.

Planning to go to the mosque on Friday afternoon, the Christchurch woman was running late on Friday and missed the prayers, she said.

Although she was “relieved to be a bad Muslim today”, the shooting made her “sick to her stomach”, she said.

It was a relatively small community and she did not feel safe, she said.

She was really worried about her children’s safety and they were currently in lockdown at their school, she said.

The woman was also waiting to hear back about the people who were at the mosque but phones were busy, she said.
Mar 15, 2019 11:06 AM
Stuff Editors
St John has transferred multiple patients to Christchurch Hospital and local medical facilities. Patient injuries ranged from minor through to those with critical gunshot wounds. There have been multiple fatalities.

A number of helicopter and road ambulances are on standby to provide support, including transporting patients to other ICUs around the country.

St John has deployed resources from throughout the country to provide cover for the next few days and remains available to provide support and care for the people of Christchurch.
Mar 15, 2019 10:57 AM
Stuff Editors
Wayne Timmo reports from a mosque in Hamilton. It, like many others are paying respects to those lost in Christchurch.
Armed Police were at the Hamilton Mosque as a precaution as people gathered to leave flowers and notes of sympathy outside.

“I never expected this to happen in New Zealand,” Waikato Muslim Association president Dr Asad Mohsin​ said.

“Knowing what sort of characteristics we have as a nation, we didn’t expect that. Having said that, we had to be prepared for it.”

Friday afternoon is an important prayer time for Muslim communities, he said, and there will have been gatherings in major mosques around New Zealand.
Mar 15, 2019 10:55 AM
Stuff Editors
Horrific live footage of the Christchurch mosque shootings, apparently taken by a gunman, was still circulating on Facebook shortly before 5.30pm on Friday, hours after it was posted to social media.

The live video, which appeared to be taken from a camera attached to the gunman, was also uploaded to Youtube a short time after the shooting.

Facebook spokeswoman Antonia Sanda was not immediately able to confirm when Facebook first became of the footage but said it had been working with “law enforcement” to remove it.

“We are working very hard to get all of this off the platform,” she said.

Spark spokesman Andrew Pirie said the company, Vodafone and the country’s third largest internet provider Vocus had agreed to block their customers accessing three overseas websites that would not be known to most New Zealanders but which had provided access to the video.

Pirie said he believed New Zealand internet providers had never previously taken such a step.

“The circumstances are such that we believe it is the responsible thing for the industry to do,” he said.

Spark would not be blocking access to Facebook, he said, saying that would be “an extreme step” and there were other avenues to tackle the issue of footage being reposted to the platform.

A spokeswoman for Google, which owns YouTube, said it removed a video after at least 100 people had viewed it and more than half a dozen people had left comments.

Google would work closely with the New Zealand authorities to offer any assistance it could, she said.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy.

“Shocking, violent and graphic videos have no place on our platform, and are removed as soon as we become aware of them,” she said.Facebook spokesman Benjamin McConaghy acknowledged at 5pm on Friday that there was still live footage of the shooting circulating on the social media platform.

“As you can probably imagine this is still an unfolding issue. We are still in the process of removing content from Facebook,” he said.

Facebook’s head of communications for Facebook in Australia and New Zealand Antonia Sanda has been contacted for further information.
Mar 15, 2019 10:53 AM
Joel MacManus
Council Lockdown Lifted
Christchurch City Council says the lock-down has been lifted on all council buildings and facilities, meaning people are now able to return to their homes.

Public facilities including libraries, pools and recreation centres, will be closed for the remainder of the night.

Sport and recreation centres will be open as usual on Saturday, but the city’s libraries will not open until midday.

Road closures and traffic delays are likely.

Mar 15, 2019 10:52 AM
Stuff Editors
Jo Mckenzie-Mclean reports from Christchurch: Farhaan Farheez was in the Linwood Mosque praying with about 100 others when the shooting started.

“I didn’t know what a gun sounded like. It is customary when we are praying not to pay attention to the outside world … Gunshots kept happening and people kept praying.”

The 27-year-old, who moved to New Zealand from Fiji in 2015, said he then heard an aggressive voice and “heaps and heaps” of gunshots.

“They came really close. It was at the door. It was really painful in my ears. I could see a gun at the entranceway but not the face. Everyone was really scared and trying to save themselves.”

People were taking cover at the back of the mosque, hiding under tables and on the ground, he said.

He saw people get shot, including a man sitting beside the window who was shot in the head, and another man who was shot in the hand.

Two people who arrived late were the first ones shot and their bodies lay at the entrance, he said.

“I saw two females and four or five males dead and the rest were severe casualties … The whole mosque was filled with blood and dead bodies. It was like a battlefield.”

The gunman then fled and left his gun lying at the entrance of the mosque, he said.

Farheez said he called police for help.

“I am thinking, I have worked so hard to be in New Zealand but what for – to be shot at?”

“I don’t feel safe to be here to be honest. New Zealand has a really good name but now because of this the whole world will view New Zealand extremely differently. This is an act of terror.”
Mar 15, 2019 10:52 AM
Stuff Editors
Police Commissioner Mike Bush is providing an update on the Christchurch mosque shootings at a media stand up in Wellington.

Bush said police are dealing with an unprecedented, grave situation.

There were multiple fatalities but he could not confirm how many

Two mosques were targetted, one at Deans avenue, one at Linwood Avenue

Four people are in custody

“We are not aware of other people, but we cannot assumed there are not others at large.”

“We are puring resources into that area … saturating that area with visibility to ensure everyone who needs to get home can get home safely.”

Police are setting up a facility for people to get more information about loved ones potentially affected.

The facility will be a phone line.

“This is requiring every police resource we have available.”

Defence force planes in Wellington were ready to send down more resources.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the police “continue to utilise every possible resource to resolve the situation”.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the police “continue to utilise every possible resource to resolve the situation”. credit: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Mar 15, 2019 10:46 AM
Stuff Editors
Armed police on Linwood Ave and specialist armed police after the Linwood Mosque came under attack from gunmen.
Armed police on Linwood Ave and specialist armed police after the Linwood Mosque came under attack from gunmen. credit: Joseph Johnson/STUFF
Mar 15, 2019 10:38 AM
Stuff Editors
Christchurch mosque shootings: Police escort survivors to safety
Police escort survivors of the Christchurch mosque shooting to hospital.
John kirk-anderson/stuff
Mar 15, 2019 10:37 AM
Stuff Editors

Mar 15, 2019 10:34 AM
Stuff Editors
Footage of shootings still circulating, FB working to remove it

Horrific live footage of the Christchurch mosque shootings, apparently taken by a gunman, was still circulating on Facebook shortly before 5.30pm on Friday, hours after it was posted to social media.
Facebook spokeswoman Antonia Sanda was not immediately able to confirm when Facebook first became of the footage but said it had been working with “law enforcement” to remove it.

“We are working very hard to get all of this off the platform,” she said.
Mar 15, 2019 10:30 AM
Stuff Editors

New Zealand Police

@nzpolice
· 8h
Replying to @nzpolice
4/4 Media please note the stand up with Commissioner Mike Bush has been pushed back to 5.30pm. This will be held at the Royal Society on Turnbull Street, Thorndon, Wellington.

New Zealand Police

@nzpolice
Police can now confirm the lock down of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted. We would like to reassure members of the public that there is a large Police presence in the city and the safety of the community is our priority.

797
10:27 AM – Mar 15, 2019
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Mar 15, 2019 10:29 AM
Stuff Editors

All Blacks and Crusaders captain Kieran Read shared on his Instagram story about 4.30pm he had been stuck inside a school hall waiting for his daughters, Elle and Eden, to be released from lockdown.

“Sending my thoughts to all victims today,” the story first read.

“Locked in the school hall waiting for the girls.

UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 10:39 AM
Mar 15, 2019 10:23 AM
Stuff Editors
Lockdowns lifted at schools throughout Christchurch

Police said in a statement the lockdown of schools throughout Christchurch had been lifted.

“We would like to reassure members of the public that there is a large police presence in the city and the safety of the community is our priority.”
Mar 15, 2019 10:22 AM
Stuff Editors

Jacinda Ardern

@jacindaardern
· 9h
What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.

Jacinda Ardern

@jacindaardern
The person who has committed this violent act has no place here. To those in Christchurch; I encourage you to stay inside and follow the instructions of @nzpolice. The Police Commissioner will be making a public statement at 5pm. I will update everyone again later this evening.

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9:03 AM – Mar 15, 2019
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Mar 15, 2019 10:22 AM
Stuff Editors
St Albans Catholic School lockdown over

Lockdown at St Albans Catholic School has been lifted.
Mar 15, 2019 10:19 AM
Stuff Editors
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has warned the city remains in lock-down, urging people to stay inside.

She said: “Don’t venture out. This is still an active situation and Police are still doing everything they can to get the situation under control.

Mar 15, 2019 10:14 AM
Stuff Editors
Langdons Road cordons lifted

Charlie Gates reports: The cordon on Langdons Rd in Papanui has been lifted.
Mar 15, 2019 10:06 AM
Joel MacManus
Others may be at large
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said “We are not aware of other people, but we cannot assumed there are not others at large.”
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 10:07 AM
Mar 15, 2019 10:06 AM
Stuff Editors

Scott Morrison

@ScottMorrisonMP
I’m horrified by the reports I’m following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins.

2,997
8:48 AM – Mar 15, 2019
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Mar 15, 2019 10:05 AM
Joel MacManus
Police will carry guns
Commissioner Bush said police will have “immediate access” to firearms.
Mar 15, 2019 10:04 AM
Joel MacManus
Car bombs found
Bush said there were “a number of IEDs [improvised explosive device] attached to cars that police stopped.”

The bombs have been disarmed.
Mar 15, 2019 10:04 AM
Stuff Editors
Refugee support organisations offer help

Several refugee support organisations have responded to the shootings by offering their support and sharing heartfelt thoughts to the Muslim community in Christchurch. The organisations working closely with refugee communities, of which several are Muslim, are shocked and appalled by today’s events.
“We will do all we can to support those impacted by this tragic event,” said Dr Ann Hood, chief executive of Refugees as Survivors NZ.
Mar 15, 2019 10:02 AM
Joel MacManus
Three men, one woman in custody
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the four in custody were believed to be three men and one woman.
He said the situation was still fast moving.
Mar 15, 2019 10:00 AM
Stuff Editors
Four people are in custody

Police have four people in custody.

“We are not aware of other people, but we cannot assume there are not others at large,” said Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 10:00 AM
Mar 15, 2019 10:00 AM
Joel MacManus
Police Commissioner Mike Bush can’t confirm the death toll, but calls it “significant”.
Mar 15, 2019 9:59 AM
Stuff Editors
Police Commissioner Mike Bush is providing an update on the Christchurch mosque shootings at a media stand up in Wellington.
Mar 15, 2019 9:57 AM
Stuff Editors

George Takei

@GeorgeTakei
Horrified by the news of the mass shootings in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Hate knows no boundaries, especially when so heavily armed. Thinking of the shattered lives and communities, where hundreds had gathered for Friday prayers.

5,520
9:50 AM – Mar 15, 2019
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Mar 15, 2019 9:56 AM
Stuff Editors
Local worker says uncertainty is ‘scary’

Michael Hayward reports: Som Krong, a staff member at Khmer Cambodian Cuisine on Langdons Rd, said she had not heard any gunshots but police were still in the area and focused on Papanui High School.

There were at least 50 people outside waiting to pick up their children, and one armed police officer was trying to keep everyone away from the cordoned area.

The uncertainty about what was happening was “scary”, she said.
Mar 15, 2019 9:54 AM
Stuff Editors
At least 30 feared dead

At least 30 people are feared dead after a gunman with automatic weapons opened fire at two Christchurch mosques. The Prime Minister described the incidents as “one of our darkest days”.
Mar 15, 2019 9:51 AM
Stuff Editors

Winston Peters

@winstonpeters
This is an awfully, awfully, sad day for New Zealand. There are lessons here from which we must all learn.

791
9:49 AM – Mar 15, 2019
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Mar 15, 2019 9:45 AM
Stuff Editors
Police at Papanui High School as a precaution

Ministry of Education Canterbury Coralanne Child said Papanui High School was safe, but police were there as a precautionary measure. The school remained on lock-down.
Mar 15, 2019 9:44 AM
Stuff Editors

Mar 15, 2019 9:42 AM
Stuff Editors
“Knowing what sort of characteristics we have as a nation, we didn’t expect that. Having said that, we had to be prepared for it,” Dr Asad Mohsin said.
Waikato Muslim Association president speaks about incidents
President of the Waikato Muslim Association Dr Asad Mohsin speaks about the incidents in Christchurch.
Mark taylor/stuff
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 9:42 AM
Mar 15, 2019 9:37 AM
Stuff Editors
Sonny Bill Williams has shared an emotional video of support for the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

The All Blacks and Blues rugby player is a Muslim and said, through tears in a video on social media, that he was struggling to comprehend what had happened.

Embedded video

Sonny Bill Williams

@SonnyBWilliams
My heart is hurting about the news coming out of Christchurch. Sending love & prayers to the effected families❤️😢

53.2K
9:16 AM – Mar 15, 2019
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UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 9:40 AM
Mar 15, 2019 9:37 AM
Stuff Editors
Papanui High School still in lockdown, students being moved

From the Papanui High School board of trustees: Students are being moved to the hall and can be collected from 5pm. The area outside of school is under police control so this will take time. We were asked by the police to go back into lockdown.
Mar 15, 2019 9:30 AM
Stuff Editors
Black Caps v Bangladesh test cancelled

The third test match between the Black Caps and Bangladesh will not go ahead.

The match was scheduled to start at Hagley Oval tomorrow.

13 members of the Bangaldeshi team were in a bus about to enter the mosque when the shooting began. None were harmed.
The team is planning to fly home as soon as possible.
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 9:33 AM
Mar 15, 2019 9:27 AM
Stuff Editors
Auckland reporter Josephine Franks reports: White lilies had been laid outside Ponsonby Mosque, where two police officers were stationed. Everyone had been cleared from inside the mosque, they said.

credit: Josephine Franks
UPDATED MAR 15, 2019 9:27 AM
Mar 15, 2019 9:23 AM
Stuff Editors
Armed police deployed to all central district mosques

Greer Berry reports that Central District’s police inspector Brett Calkin said armed police had been deployed to all central district mosques. He would not confirm if it was a nationwide directive or due to a particular threat.
Mar 15, 2019 9:21 AM
Stuff Editors
Armed police cordon off Papanui High School

Joelle Dally reports: Hung Lam said armed police had cordoned off Papanui High School.

Lam, who was at nearby restaurant Khmer Cambodian Cuisine, said a section of Langdon’s Rd east of the Restell St roundabout had been cordoned off. He said a helicopter was flying above.
Heather Tiso, a staff member at The Christmas Hut store on Sawyers Arms Rd, said a helicopter had been circling for about an hour.

“We’ve just been outside and there’s definitely a heavy police presence and we’ve seen an armed offender of some sort hanging out of a helicopter zipping around. ”
She said staff were feeling a bit anxious and had decided to close the store and keep their heads down.

This is the day everyone knew might come. But even as New Zealanders watched the rest of the world fall victim to terror attacks and hate crimes, we hoped we might still be immune, protected by our distance from the rest of the world.

We were not – and we can only grieve for what we have now lost as a nation.

New Zealand’s terror threat level has been lifted to high for the first time in its history, in the wake of what is now formally being described as a terrorist attack.

Smaller planes whose passengers don’t pass through security checks have been grounded and border security has been tightened.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison called it a right-wing terrorist attack, and described himself as “numbed”, that such an attack could happen in a place like Christchurch.

The sickening stream of material released by the alleged shooter on Facebook and Twitter, some of it also emailed to senior government ministers and newsrooms within minutes of the attack, was a chilling manifesto of terror, violence and hate. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of New Zealand’s darkest days and no-one will disagree.

Senior ministers and staff seen at Parliament in the immediate aftermath of the shooting looked shaken. Officials streaming into Police National Headquarters for a meeting of the high level Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (OCDESC) were grim and silent.

The group of senior chief executives from the security intelligence service, foreign affairs, department of prime minister and cabinet, civil defence and others is only ever convened in times of crisis and when national security is under threat.

In the immediate aftermath the focus will be on supporting the victims and the grieving families of the 49 people confirmed dead, and the more than 20 who were injured. But there will be questions over the coming days over whether we had sufficient warning systems in place.

The alleged shooter had posted disturbing material on Facebook in advance of the attack. Yet the prime minister confirmed he and his associates were not on any watch lists and appeared not to have attracted attention from the police.

There will also be questions about whether this is a turning point in how we view ourselves as a nation.

Even the attack on Green Party co-leader James Shaw in a Wellington Park just 24 hours earlier is being seen in a new light in the wake of the tragedy in Christchurch. No one is saying the attacks are linked, but the incident had already sparked questions about whether we are too complacent about the security of our public officials.

Senior cabinet ministers are often seen walking to work unprotected – one former finance minister was like clockwork on his morning coffee run; former finance minister Bill English regularly went for runs around Wellington’s Thorndon hills.

Only the prime minister receives police protection; other MPs and ministers take it for granted that they can move around the country freely.

They won’t be alone in questioning whether everything has changed how.

That is a question the rest of us will be asking as well.

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