The man responsible for killing 51 people while they worshipped at mosques has arrived in Christchurch ahead of his sentencing tomorrow.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 29, could be seen arriving surrounded by armed officers and defence staff after a New Zealand Defence Force aircraft touched down in the city this afternoon.
A Christchurch source told the Herald the aircraft landed at Christchurch Airport at 1.50pm today.
Police barricaded off a street once the aircraft landed and Tarrant could be seen being ushered into the back of a van.
He was wearing grey pants, a black vest and black helmet, and appeared to be handcuffed.
Officers could be seen carrying guards or shields as a helicopter circled above.
The member of the public said a small crowd started to gather when they realised what the large police presence was for.
Tarrant has admitted murdering 51 men, women and children at two Christchurch mosques on March 15 last year. He has also pleaded guilty to 40 counts of attempted murder relating to the two attacks at Masjid Al Noor and the Linwood Islamic Centre - and to one charge of engaging in a terrorist act laid under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.
He will be sentenced at the end of a four-day hearing in the High Court at Christchurch, which begins tomorrow.
Armed police were visible outside the Christchurch court precinct today and military vehicles have been seen entering the building.
Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said police had been working closely with other agencies in preparation for the sentencing hearing.
"This is an unprecedented event with a large number of victims and their families expected to attend court. A number of them will read victim impact statements in court or have them read on their behalf.
"A major security operation has been planned to help ensure the safety of everyone involved."
A police media spokesperson referred the Herald to Corrections for further information about Tarrant being transported from Auckland Prison at Paremoremo to Christchurch.
The Herald has contacted the NZDF.
A Corrections spokesperson said: "This prisoner continues to be managed in accordance with the provisions set out in the Corrections Act 2004 and our international obligations for the treatment of prisoners."
• Christchurch mosque shootings: Brenton Tarrant prison bill to cost taxpayers $3.6m - Cabinet papers
• Christchurch mosques terror attack: A look at Brenton Tarrant's prison future
• Christchurch mosque shooting: Brenton Tarrant sacks lawyers, will represent himself at sentencing
• Christchurch mosque shootings: Why we should send gunman Brenton Tarrant back to Australia - Alexander Gillespie