Today's death toll of 49 makes the Christchurch mosque shootings as bad as New Zealand's previous worst mass killing in 1943.

It is also by far the worst toll of any terrorist attack in Australia or New Zealand. Only two people plus the terrorist died in the Sydney hostage crisis in 2014, and three died in a stabbing in Melbourne last November that was treated by police as "terror-related".

New Zealand's grim record includes:

Featherston riot

Guards at a Featherston camp for Japanese prisoners of war shot and killed 48 prisoners during a riot in 1943, during World War II. One New Zealand soldier also died.


A Japanese prisoner was shot and wounded by the camp adjutant. This led to the prisoners either charging or appearing to charge the guards, who opened fire with rifles, sub-machine guns and pistols.

Aramoana massacre

A man in the small seaside township of Aramoana near Dunedin, David Gray, killed 13 people after a dispute with his neighbour in 1990. Gray himself was shot by police and died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

Stanley Graham

Hokitika man Stanley Graham shot four police officers and three other people after a dispute with a neighbour who he believed was killing his cattle in 1941.

Graham himself was eventually shot dead by police after a manhunt involving more than 100 police and several hundred army and Home Guard personnel.

Schlaepfer killing

A farmer at Paerata south of Auckland, Brian Schlaepfer, 64, killed six members of his family before turning a shotgun on himself in May 1992.

Ratima killing

Masterton man Raymond Ratima, 25, bludgeoned and stabbed seven family members to death In June 1992, a month after the Schlaepfer killings.

Himatangi fire

A farm house at Himatangi in the Manawatu was burned to the ground in 1929, killing four adults and three children inside. One of the victims, 47-year-old farmer Thomas Wright, had been shot in the head prior to the fire, but there was not enough evidence to convict any suspects.

Raurimu rampage

In February 1997 Stephen Lawrence Anderson killed six people at Raurimu, near Mt Ruapehu. Anderson had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of insanity.


New Empire Hotel arson

Alan Wayne Lory was found guilty of setting fire to the New Empire Hotel in Hamilton in 1995, killing six people. He set fire to a hotel sofa because of a grudge over being thrown out of his lodgings.

Notable worldwide mass shooting events

2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting & 2017 Las Vegas Shooting

On June 12, 2016, a gunman gunned down 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, USA. The Orlando nightclub shooting was considered the deadliest mass shooting in the United States until the 2017 Las Vegas Shooting one year later. On the night of October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock fired over 1100 rounds into the crowd of the Route 91 Harvest musical festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA killing 58 people.

Sandy Hook Massacre

On December 4, 2012, a gunman in Newtown, Connecticut, USA opened fire and killed 27 people, of which 20 of these victims were children aged between 5 and 10 years old, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooting took place at an elementary school, and the gunman committed suicide shortly thereafter. The Sandy Hook Massacre remains the deadliest mass shooting at a grade school or high school in US history.

2011 Norway Attacks

On Friday afternoon, July 22, 2011, a 2000-pound home-made fertiliser bomb was planted in a motor vehicle in the central area of Oslo, Norway. The bomb exploded at around 3.30pm local time, scattering debris and rocking Norway's capital. It blew out the windows in proximate government offices, killing 8 people and wounding a dozen others. Rescuers and police quickly rushed to the scene to handle the situation and help out the survivors. Meanwhile, the attacker, Anders Behring Breivik, who had planned the bombing of the city ahead of time, headed for Utova, a small island that lies approximately 25 miles northwest of Oslo. At that time, a youth camp was being held by members of a Norwegian political party. Armed with an automatic rifle, he entered the grounds hosting the event and started shooting campers. He killed a total of 77 people.

Port Arthur Massacre

In 1996, Martin Bryant entered a café on a historic penal colony site at Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia. After taking his lunch, the 28-year old pulled out a semi-automatic rifle from his bag and started a shooting spree. By the time he was arrested the following morning, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 others. The event made Bryant the worst mass-murderer in Australian history.

Virginia Tech Shootings

In April 2007, 23-year old Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. He later took his own life, and the event lives in infamy as the "Virginia Tech Massacre".