A young father has saved the life of his 2-year-old son after the pair came under fire at the Linwood Masjid during Friday's terrorist attack.

Zulfirman Syah's wife Alta Marie was cooking in her kitchen in their new home when she received a call from her husband.

It wasn't clear until the second call, minutes later, that there had been an attack of some kind at the mosque in Christchurch, where he had just gone with their toddler for Friday prayers.

Alta has taken to social media to explain the subsequent heroic actions of her husband.


"My husband shielded our son during the attack at Linwood Islamic Centre, which caused him to receive most of the bullets and much more complex injuries than our son," she said.

Syah was said to have been shot in multiple places on his body.

"He is in stable condition following the extensive exploratory and reconstructive surgery he had earlier today," Alta explained on Facebook.

"While he is still in the intensive care unit at this stage, he will be moved to the general ward whenever it is deemed appropriate - likely in the next day or so.

"While the road to recovery will be long, his condition has only improved since he arrived at the hospital yesterday.

"This afternoon he had a visit from the Indonesian ambassador, which lifted his spirits."

Zulfirman Syah shielded his son Averroes during the attack at Linwood Islamic Centre. Photo / Facebook
Zulfirman Syah shielded his son Averroes during the attack at Linwood Islamic Centre. Photo / Facebook

Alta was reunited with her two and a half-year-old son, Averroes, after hours of searching for information.

She said he sustained minor injuries, including a gunshot wound to the leg and backside.


"He had surgery this morning to extract some shrapnel while checking for internal injuries. He is recovering nicely and has been cheerful while keeping the staff on the children's ward entertained with his talkative and energetic nature," she wrote.

A Givealittle page set up for the family said the toddler was traumatised from the tragic event, but Alta has so much gratitude for their survival.

"I am grateful that my family members are alive, as many lives were lost during these attacks. Please keep those people in your thoughts and prayers," Alta said.

The page explained that the family recently relocated from Indonesia, which is Syah's homeland.

He was described as a talented, hard-working artist, while Alta is an American who has lived in Indonesia for many years and had a dream to settle in New Zealand with her family.

She has been doing freelance work online to make ends meet and help the transition from Indonesia to New Zealand, the page said.

Page creator Jodi Puhalla said she was "asking for your support for this family who is now reeling from this insidious attack".

"Alta will now have to cease much of her work while she cares for her husband and son.

"Since they are new to the area, they have no family and friends near them for emotional or financial support. Please help alleviate their financial stress as they heal from this nightmare," she wrote.

The page has currently raised just over $14,000 for the family.

Puhalla said the money will be used for uncovered medical expenses and household expenses while the couple re-stabilises, and to alleviate the financial stress until they can work again.

"Let's help restore their peace and counteract this horrible act of violence," she wrote.

• Go to Go Fund Me to donate to the family.