A helper for the Hawke's Bay marching team 'Buckingham Guards' says the team was in "the middle of it" as the aftermath of multiple shootings unfolded in Christchurch.

Up to 27 people are believed to be dead after gunmen opened fire on two Christchurch mosques.

Pam Sullivan told Hawke's Bay Today "We were in the middle of it. We were driving the girls back from marching. They had about 20 armed officers in the street when we passed."

"We are in Horncastle Stadium and we are in lockdown. Not far from here they found a bomb in a car."


"We have been in lock down since 1.30pm."

"There are 55 teams here, each has at least 15 people."
"The competition -Marching NZ National Championships is still going ahead."

The Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust in Heretaunga St had a police presence outside today.
The Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust in Heretaunga St had a police presence outside today.

Hawke's Bay-based former Bangladesh cricket player Al-Sahariar Rokon spoke with the Bangladesh test team's manager - the team are in Christchurch preparing for the third test against the Black Caps.

"I've just got off the phone with the team manager. They are okay - but they're just really shocked. I've been getting so many calls from Bangladesh it's just been unbelievable."

"I'm just so glad that they're okay. But I'm just so sorry to hear about the people who have died, I just feel so sorry for them. Right now, I'm shocked - seriously shocked."

Meanwhile, a Hawke's Bay man who moved to Christchurch three years ago to study says his campus was in lockdown amidst a "very surreal" atmosphere after multiple shootings in the city.

Armed police on Langdons Road in Papanui. Photo / Broadcast Media
Armed police on Langdons Road in Papanui. Photo / Broadcast Media

Napier's Caleb Story said the university campus was in lockdown after gunmen opened fire at mosques in Christchurch, with at least six people believed to have been killed and police urging residents to stay indoors.

A dead body has been seen lying near Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and a second gunman has been seen near Linwood Masjid mosque.


"It's very surreal," Story, 20, said.

"Lectures are cancelled for the near future and we're allowed to leave the buildings but not re-enter so it's a sort of leave campus at your own risk situation.

"It doesn't feel as though an incident like this should be happening this close to home."

Story said he couldn't see outside to see if police were on campus but university security staff were "going nuts".

Police outside the Hawkes Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid & Islamic Centre Trust building.
Police outside the Hawkes Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid & Islamic Centre Trust building.

Napier's Lisa Parkes, currently working in Christchurch city is completely unnerved by the events happening not far from where she works.

"We are staying indoors, because of what's happened. We don't know where the shooter is and it is very reminiscent of what happened in Napier. It is pretty unnerving and the main concern is myself."

Saeed Ahmed, manager of Islamic Society in Hawke's Bay, said: "It's a very sad and terrible thing that has happened.

"It's something we don't expect to happen in New Zealand," he said.

Police had advised him to close the mosque for the next 48 hours just to take precaution.

Asked if he feared something could happen in Hawke's Bay he said. "The Hastings people are great to us. They are good people, when we have any big celebrations or events we invite the local community, everyone Muslim or non- Muslim, and they respect us and our faith, so one I'm not scared of something happening here.

"I've had a few friends and family call me from Bangladesh and asked that I'm OK."

Napier Bill Dalton said he felt huge sympathy for those who lost their lives, and the people of Christchurch. "They've been through enough in recent years without this sort of thing happening."

"To the people of Christchurch, keep your chins up, we are there for you, and if there is anyway we can help we will."

"This is just horrible, it is unthinkable in New Zealand."

"I really feel for the people of Christchurch and those who have lost loved ones."

He said he had seen Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel yesterday in Auckland, and if there is anyway the people of Napier can help her and her people she only has to ask.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst she felt for the community of Christchurch
"Our thoughts are with them, you never want this in your community."

She said as regional leaders, she and the other mayors would work together to support the Christchurch community in anyway we could.

"As a region we would work together to support the community of Christchurch."

Leah Thomson of Dannevirke who is in Christchurch to watch the Marching Nationals said they were just visiting the Cathedral where there were hundreds of climate change protesters - including a lot of school kids.

"We had not long left there when we passed the armed offenders squad on our way back to the Marching Nationals and were ushered straight into the Horncastle Arena.

"We didn't know anything at this point though. We were then told we were in lock down and advised there was a shooting outside and nobody can get in or out until we have been told all is ok. We are completely unaware of what is happening outside."

Churches of all denominations around New Zealand have begun opening their doors to people wishing to seek solace or share support.

"St Andrews Presbyterian Church Hastings is open for anyone who would like to come and pray for other Muslim brothers and sisters in Christchurch," said a statement from the church.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little has a son in Christchurch who jogs past one of the mosques frequently. Little said he had been on the phone to his son, who was shaken, but OK.

Little said a mosque or a church was supposed to be a safe space.

He said the people of Wairoa were very generous and if there was anything they could do to support the people of Christchurch they would.

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker said the region was currently supporting Christchurch "in spirit".

"Our hearts have to go out to our families in Christchurch."

Eastern District Commander Superintendent Tania Kura said no staff from the district had yet been sent to Christchurch. "But we anticipate we will deploy resources as the co-ordinating instructions come from the National Centre," Kura said.