Witnesses described seeing bodies and “blood everywhere” following the attack at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1.45pm.
Police have arrested an Australian citizen – a 28-year-old man – and another three people, following a second shooting at another mosque in the Christchurch suburbs.
Brenton Tarrant, named as the suspect in Australian media, appeared to have live-streamed the attack in Christchurch and outlined his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto posted online.
A search of a property in Dunedin, around 200 miles to the south, was carried out by police.
Videos and documents posted online appear to suggest that the shooter live-streamed his attack on Facebook and prepared an anti-immigrant “manifesto” prior to the shooting.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has raised New Zealand’s national security threat level from low to high.
Follow the latest developments in our live blog below.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush has thanked the public for their bravery during the attack and suggested their intervention may well have saved further lives.
An extra 125 police officers have moved into Christchurch to assist with keeping the city safe.
Commissioner Bush added that the officers who rammed the car had put themselves in danger because of the improvised explosive devices on the car.
The person who was detained was “not willing to be arrested”, he said, adding that he listened to live audio of it taking place.
Police have a number of leads they are investigating, he said.
“We want to assure the public we are not searching for anyone who is an immediate risk, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” he added.
New Zealand’s Police Association has welcomed prime minister Jacinda Ahern’s commitment to changing gun laws.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush has said that questions are rightly being asked about how the attack was not foreseen.
“The investigation into the intelligence failures is also a priority,” he said.
A two-year-old boy is among the 39 people being treated at Christchurch Hospital, Mr Robertson said. A 13-year-old boy was also wounded in the attack, he said.
They are among 39 victims being treated at the facility.
“It was carnage that came through the doors yesterday,” he said.
Greg Robertson, Chief of Surgery at the Canterbury District Health Board, has said 11 people remain critically ill.
He said many of the victims have multiple injuries. Most would need surgery, he added. Four patients had died on the way to hospital.
The first victim of the attack to be named by his family is Daoud Nabi, who was killed at Al Noor mosque.
He was shot as he tried to shield another worshipper from the gunman, according to NBC News.
His sons Yama and Omar waited in front of Christchurch District Court on Friday, as a 28-year-old man suspected of carrying out the attack appeared inside.
Christchurch, New Zealand’s garden city, has been left reeling after yesterday’s act of terror.
Read our report from the town here:
Fiyaz Mughal has a written a piece for The Independent about Fraser Anning’s comments today.
“Attacks against Muslims are justified by some politicians in the name of tackling Islamist extremism or terrorism,” he says.
Read more here:
Brenton Tarrant made a White Power gesture during his brief appearance in court, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The 28-year-old man suspected of killing dozens of Muslim worshippers yesterday has appeared in court.
He is charged with murder.
Press and victims’ families are gathered at the Christchurch District Court in New Zealand, where a 28-year-old man is expected to appear shortly, on charges of murder.
As well as the suspected gunman, two more people remain in police custody.
Officers are still investigating whether they were directly involved in the terror attack.
Christchurch District Court will remain closed to the public during the appearance of the suspected gunman today.
New Zealand Police said that this was due to the heightened security risk.
She said two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm were found.
The attacker had obtained a gun licence in November 2017.
Those affected in the attack include citizens from Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
Ms Ardern added that none of those arrested had a criminal record and were not on any watch lists.
The New Zealand leader has said that the mosque attackers were not based in Christchurch at the time of the incident.
Jacinda Ardern has said that New Zealand’s police officers are focused on extremism “of every kind”.
She has declared an intention to change the country’s gun laws in the aftermath of the attack.
“Now is the time to change,” she said.
Christchurch’s mayor has said graves are being dug for the dozens of worshippers who were shot dead in the mosques.
Lianne Dalziel said city officials were working closely with the Muslim community on the specific requirements needed to carry out a large number of Islamic funerals.
Officers are urging all New Zealanders to be vigilant as investigations continue.
“There is no guarantee the risk is limited to Canterbury,” Mike Bush said.
A large police presence is expected in the city today.
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