Christchurch mosque terror attacks day 8: What you need to know

11:44 am on 22 March 2019

A week has passed since the worst terror attack in New Zealand history at two mosques in Christchurch. Here's what you need to know on day eight.

No caption

About 18,000 people turned out for a Dunedin vigil to remember terror attack victims last night. Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

Vigils and commemorations today

Events are being held around the country today to remember the 50 people who lost their lives a week ago.

  • Scarves in Solidarity - people are encouraged to wear head scarves today to show support for the victims of the terror attacks.
  • People are being asked to stay off Facebook for 50 hours from 1.40pm, the time the alleged gunman started broadcasting live video of the shooting last Friday.
  • The 50 hour Facebook fast will offer one hour for every victim and aims to make Facebook aware of people's feelings about the video that was posted.

  • Two minutes silence will be observed from 1.32pm at Hagley Park, opposite the Al Noor Mosque in Deans Ave. This will follow a broadcast of the Muslim call to prayer at 1.30pm, on RNZ and TVNZ.
  • The Nelson Islamic Cultural Society is holding a special prayer service for the victims from midday. All welcome.
  • A human chain will surround Muslims worshipping at the Kilbirnie masjid in Wellington today. Wellingtonians who want to take part are asked to gather outside the mosque on Queens Drive in Kilbirnie at 1.15pm.
  • In Auckland, mosques are opening their doors to the public from 4.30pm to 8pm, giving an opportunity for Aucklanders to meet their Muslim community and show support and solidarity.
  • A Jummah Remembrance Vigil will be held to show support for the victims' families and the wider Muslim community from 6pm at Auckland Domain.
  • A vigil will be held at the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth at 7pm.
  • A candle-lit hikoi of unity will be held in Hastings, 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.
  • A vigil will be held at Imam Reza Mosque in New Lynn from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
  • The Kāpiti Vigil for Christchurch will be held at 7pm at the Zeal youth centre at 132 Rimu Road.
University of Otago students wear hijabs

Dunedin students wore hijabs in solidarity with Muslim women yesterday. Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

Weekend vigils and events

  • An anti-Islamophobia rally, Kia Kaha Aotearoa: Stand Against Racism, will be held at Aotea Square in Auckland at 2pm on Sunday, 24 March.
  • More than two thousand people have indicated they will attend the Christchurch March for Love, which will start at North Hagley Park at 10am on Saturday, 23 March.
  • Remember Those Who Lost Their Lives 15-3-19 will be held at 5pm on Sunday, 24 March at North Hagley Park.

If you know of an event that is not included on this list, please email us at [].

What happened?

A lone gunman fired shots into crowds at two Christchurch mosques on 15 March. One attack was 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.

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 injured.

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

Media in the United States are reporting that Islamic State (IS) has called for retaliation over the Christchurch mosque shootings.

A spokesperson for the jihadist movement, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, said the killings should incite supporters to avenge their religion.

New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi said every major jihadist group had called for retaliatory attacks after the Christchurch shootings.

New Zealand SIS director-general Rebecca Kitteridge said the agency was focused on supporting the police investigation and on mitigating the risks to New Zealanders posed by possible revenge or copycat attacks.

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 on Tuesday accused of distributing the live stream of the Christchurch shootings. Police said one other person arrested on 15 March was facing charges not directly related to the events.

What is happening now?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.

However, lobbyists are expected to fight hard to water down the proposed firearm reforms.

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

Police said people should contact them before bringing in firearms.

On Saturday, people are expected to be allowed back into the two Christchurch mosques where the shootings occurred.

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

No caption

People write messages of support for the massacre victims on a wall in downtown Auckland. Photo: RNZ

Essential contacts

Victim Support has set up a Givealittle page for victims and their families following the attack. By 9am today it had raised almost $7.8 million.

Those who have a missing family member are urged to go to 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

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs