Christchurch terror attack day 5: What you need to know today

5:22 pm on 19 March 2019

On Friday, the worst terror attack in New Zealand history took place at two mosques in Christchurch, resulting in the deaths of 50 people. Here's what you need to know.

A student at a Christchurch tribute to the victims of the twin terror attacks targeting Al Noor and Linwood mosques.

A student at a Christchurch tribute to the victims of the terror attack targeting Al Noor and Linwood mosques. Photo: AFP

What happened?

There were two attacks on Friday in Christchurch - one at the Al Noor mosque next to Hagley Park, and one at the Linwood mosque.

Fifty people died, seven at Linwood mosque and 42 at Al Noor mosque. One person died later in Christchurch Hospital.

The dead include a five-year-old girl and her father, who were chased by the gunman and shot in front of horrified passers-by.

Fifty people were also injured. One child, a four-year-old girl, remains at Starship Hospital.

The national security threat level has been increased from low to high for the first time in New Zealand's history.

Police officers search the area near the Masjid Al Noor mosque, site of one of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Police officers search the area near the Al Noor mosque the day after the shooting. Photo: AP

Who has been charged?

Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder, and more charges are likely. He has been remanded in custody until 5 April when he will appear in the high court.

An 18-year-old man appeared in court yesterday accused of distributing the live stream of the Christchurch shootings. Police said one other person arrested on Friday was facing charges not directly related to the events.

What is happening today?

Some New Zealanders who own semi-automatic weapons have begun voluntarily handing their firearms over to police for destruction in protest.

Police say people should contact them before bringing in their firearm.

Despite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing yesterday that Cabinet had discussed gun laws, party leaders are saying little about how they will change.

It will be 10 days before the country knows how far the government will go.

More than 50 New Zealand companies are considering pulling ads from Facebook because it allowed a livestream of the Christchurch massacre.

Some firms have already stopped advertising and the Association of New Zealand Advertisers predicts dozens of others are likely to follow suit.

The minister responsible for the GCSB and SIS, Andrew Little says he is satisfied the SIS was looking at all forms of extremism in New Zealand, including the alt right and white supremacism.

A gun club in Kaitaia in Northland has burnt down overnight and the blaze is being treated as suspicious.

Ms Ardern is due to move a motion in Parliament today about the attack. Other parties will have the opportunity to speak to the motion before the House adjourns for the day.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signs the Condolence Book.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signs the Condolence Book. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Churches are opening their doors to give muslims a safe place to pray as all mosques remain closed until risk levels drop.

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand is expected to hold a press conference some time today.

Taxi drivers in Christchurch have been offering their services for free.

Nelson has joined a growing list of cities and towns throughout the country opening a condolence book for victims of the attacks.

The book is available at Civic House until 2 April, when it will be shared with the affected families and community in Christchurch.

Dunedin City Council will hold an extraordinary meeting today in a show of solidarity after the attacks.

The meeting will open at 1pm with a prayer and waiata before Mayor Dave Cull and councillors offer their condolences to the Muslim community.

Young students attend a vigil in Christchurch today.

Young students attend a vigil in Christchurch on Monday. Photo: AFP

Vigils and commemorations around the country

  • Dunedin City Council and Amnesty International's Otago University branch are holding a vigil from 7pm on Thursday 21 March at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Organisers moved the event from the original venue, the Octagon, because of the large turnout expected.
  • The Jummah Remembrance: Vigil for Lives Taken in Christchurch will be held at Aotea Square in Auckland at 6pm on Friday, 22 March.
  • A vigil will be held at the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth at 7pm on Friday, 22 March.
  • A candle-lit hikoi of unity will be held in Hastings on Friday, starting at Albert Square at 6.30pm and finishing at the Baitul Mokarram Masjid in Heretaunga Street East. Women wanting to attend are asked to wear headscarfs as a sign of respect, if they feel comfortable doing so.
  • An anti-Islamophobia rally, Kia Kaha Aotearoa: Stand Against Racism, will be held at Aotea Square in Auckland at 2pm on Sunday, 24 March.
  • A vigil will be held at North Hagley Park in Christchurch at 5pm on Sunday, 24 March.

Many calling for support

Calls are flooding into the Ministry of Health's 1737 helpline in the wake of the shootings.

Andrew Slater, of Homecare Medical which operates the helpline, said 667 calls were taken on Monday. The average duration of calls was 41 minutes.

Mr Slater said the impact of the attacks had been felt nationwide.

Essential contacts

Victim Support has set up a Givealittle page for victims and their families following the attack. By Monday morning it had raised more than $5 million.

Those who have a missing family member are urged to go the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website, where they can register missing persons or register themselves as alive.

Missing persons can also be registered on 0800 115 019. A member of the police will be in contact thereafter.

Police launched a 'Tell Police' form on their website for anyone who wants to give them information on the attacks.

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email

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