• Dozens killed in 'terrorist' shootings at two Christchurch mosques

•Four people arrested, including one woman

• Rotorua leaders react to the shootings


6.00pm: Lily Joy Al Omari moved to Rotorua with her husband and two children in 2016 from Saudi Arabia for the safety New Zealand offered.

"I'm a Muslim...I'm really scared. Who knows where they'll come."

She said this was a tragedy for Christchurch who had first had the earthquakes and this "massacre."

Her husband, Omar, saw the video and was deeply disturbed saying it was a hate crime and in cold blood.

"New Zealand is a safe place for is. That's why I'm shocked," he said.

"We need to remember this to make sure this doesn't happen anyone."

He said he did not regret moving to New Zealand and they would hope and pray this would not happen again.

5.36pm: Lynmore Primary School principal Lorraine Taylor said it was a distressing time and she was supporting Islamic parents personally.


She said after having an annual global peace run at the school on Tuesday and for this to happen two or three days after, it is deeply distressing.

"I think we need to strongly condemn this kind of action and we need to stay strong together and support each other as we are Kiwis together in this."

5.29pm: Rotorua real estate agent Don Gunn grew up in Christchurch and his brother and sister still live there.

He said it the news of the shootings was "totally shocking."

"It's totally unbelievable. When I think of Christchurch, when I was growing up it was always such a safe place.

"Whenever we were in Hagley Park we were playing, running, going for walks, or taking part in sport."

He said the descriptions from the city were "just horrific".

"The quake was devastating but this is just absolutely unbelievable, it's bizarre."

5.01pm: Taupō Business Chamber president Catie Noble is in Christchurch just a few kilometres from one of the shootings.

She posted on Facebook to say she was safe and locked down in her motel.

"Police, ambulance and armed offenders cars zooming past in both directions," she said.

"Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters killed and hurt in this gutless attack just down the road from my motel. Women, children and men all hurt whilst praying. They will be New Zealanders and migrants just like me and my family, just a different religion," she said.

"Just had a big chat with the motel owner about how do we stop these things happening and it has got to be about inclusion, empathy and understanding about others. Diversity and inclusion must become a priority for us all."

4.56pm: Finn McCullough lived in Christchurch for five years where he attended university, moving to Rotorua at the end of last year and had not yet been in contact with his friends.

"From my image of Christchurch I definitely didn't think that there was anything this extreme at all. I am super surprised and obviously just so disappointed," McCullough said.

"I can see it having pretty long term effects. Something of this magnitude isn't just swept under the rug."



Rotorua architect Aladina Harunani, who is also a member of the local Muslim community, said he was full of emotion.

"This is totally unacceptable. How will those families take it when their loved ones don't come back from the mosque today?

"It is really sad that our country has come to this. We as Kiwis have always been much more socially inclusive than other countries where this kind of thing has happened."

4.37pm: National MP for Rotorua Todd McClay said he was shocked and horrified when he heard the news.

"It appears this is a hate crime that has no place in New Zealand. I think every New Zealander and visitor to our country will be appalled and saddened.

"People should look after themselves their families as this is a great tragedy for the country."

He wanted Muslims in our community to know they are valued and a very important part of the Rotorua community.

4.33pm: Rotorua Multicultural Council president Margriet Theron said through tears it was horrible and she could not believe it.

She said people migrated to New Zealand with safety at the top of their minds and would now be completely distressed.

"People come here peace and safety. It's forever now people will worry about going into a mosque."

"One incident will change the way we live forever.

"You can't say it won't ever happen because now it has," Theron said.

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said there were a number of his students that were studying in Christchurch and parents and staff had been taking calls from them as they were concerned for their safety.

"I have just been down to the main office area and the parents have been taking calls from their kids and are just absolutely shocked and terrified by it all.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the community and it is just an unfortunate time."

He said the school had a planned lock down scheduled for next week but this event brought home the point that lock downs were necessary exercise for schools around the country.

"I was in Hawaii in the Christmas holidays for a education conference and the big debate there was guns in schools and lock downs.

"I was thinking at that point, 'luckily we're in New Zealand' and not to be facing mass shootings like they do in the states, but here we are a few months later."

4.26pm: Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she was in shock but was sending her condolences to the wider Muslim community in Christchurch.

"It is deeply moving for everybody but Muslims have our support and are very loved in our community."

4.19pm: Rotorua woman Emire Khan-Malik who is Muslim said she was saddened by the news.

"I know a lot of Muslim brothers and sisters and I'm very concerned for their safety."
Khan-Malik said the incident would make the Rotorua Muslim community concerned for its safety.

"All of the Muslim community in New Zealand will be.

"I am concerned about our Muslim brothers and sisters. They are going to be fearing for their own safety. Now this has happened who knows where it may happen again."

She said Muslims around the country would be reciting a special prayer for those who had lost their lives and praying this sort of thing wouldn't happen again.

Khan-Malik believed the president of the Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand was in Christchurch.

She estimated there were 60 Muslim families in Rotorua.

4.16pm: Prime Minister Jacinda Arden addressed the nation on television and said ''this will be one of New Zealand's darkest days''.

4.12pm: Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey said he was absolutely gutted to see so much hatred present in society towards Muslims.

"I just don't understand it...This is absolutely unacceptable."

He wanted to reinforce that Rotorua's Muslim community were supported by all those in Rotorua.

"I am looking forward to getting in touch very soon with the community and just being with them and send them a message that we aren't all like that.

"Our hearts are 100 per cent with them at this time. "

4.07pm: Rotorua mother Mataku-Ariki de Roo was born and raised in Christchurch, and moved up 10 years ago.

Her mother and siblings and their children still live there.

"As soon as I saw the news I text and rang them. It was a relief to hear they were safe. But my nieces are in lock-down at their schools and we are also concerned because my sister works in a mall."

She said her Facebook news-feed was full of friends and family who were distraught and upset.

"They've all been sharing how bad it is... A lot of my friends are seeing the police presence, and witnessing the repercussions."

De Roo said as soon as she saw the news her heart raced.

"Even now I am quite emotional, and I will be watching the news as soon as I get home from work."

3.59pm: Rotorua police said they couldn't comment on whether there would be an increased police presence at Rotorua's mosque in the wake of the shooting.
Police in a statement asked all mosques nationally to shut their doors and advise that people refrain from visiting these premises until further notice.

3.56pm: New Zealand First MP for Rotorua, Fletcher Tabuteau said it was a "frightening travesty" and his heart went out to all the people who were involved and were so worried right now.

"For anyone in Rotorua that is affected, if there is anything we can do let us know."

3.47pm: Abby Ayson, 22, moved to Rotorua in November after living in Christchurch for four years for university and was shocked beyond words with news of the shooting.

Ayson said her boyfriend lived in Christchurch and said she felt "powerless."

She said it was not something she would ever expect to come out of Christchurch, and a shooting of this size was unheard of in New Zealand.

Former John Paul College student Cian Hinton moved to Christchurch this year to begin university and was currently in lockdown in the hall.

"As far as I know the entire campus, including accommodation, is still in lockdown but I haven't heard of anything happening in the vicinity.

"Most of the information has been from online as the staff also seem to be mostly in the dark on the situation."

Hinton said he had been receiving a lot of messages from friends.

"I had notified my family pretty early on about it so they seem to be calm, mostly."

Head of the Rotorua Muslim Association Ayhan Semiz. Photo / Cira Olivier
Head of the Rotorua Muslim Association Ayhan Semiz. Photo / Cira Olivier


The head of the Rotorua Muslim Association has reacted to reports that

with dozens of people feared dead.

Head of the Rotorua Muslim Association Ayhan Semiz said it was sad to see religion attacked in such a way and there was a global phobia of the Islamic faith.

However, he would not be reviewing the association's safety saying it was a one off and "its just a bunch of idiots."

"You can't rationalise with someone in that state of mind."

He said he was not scared following the attacks at the Christchurch mosques as he believed New Zealand was a peaceful and tolerant country and would see through these crimes.