Senior figures in the New Zealand Muslim community plan to hold one national memorial burial for the 50 victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings later this week.

There had been discussions this morning to try and release 10 bodies today, the Herald has been told.

But after a meeting this afternoon, it's been decided that no bodies will be released today.
It's likely that no bodies will be released until Wednesday or even Thursday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday hoped that all shooting victims' bodies would be returned to families by tomorrow.

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Armed police officers walk past the graves being prepared at Memorial Park Cemetery. Photo / Getty Images
Armed police officers walk past the graves being prepared at Memorial Park Cemetery. Photo / Getty Images

Senior members of the Islamic community have told the Herald that planning is ongoing for one funeral for all of the victims.

However, one source stressed that it would ultimately be a decision made by the families.

Preparations are ongoing at Memorial Park Cemetery in the eastern suburb of Linwood – around 1km from the scene of the Linwood Mosque shooting on Friday.

Graves are now being dug in the dedicated Muslim section of the Christchurch City Council-run cemetery.

"We are working closely with police and the coroner to facilitate burials," a council spokesman said, adding that police are acting as the lead agency.

A large temporary fence surrounds the burial site.

Security is tight with private security contractors patrolling the perimeter. Armed police are also highly visible and combing the surrounding area. Sniffer dogs have also been used.

Muslim community elders have visited the site this morning, while florists vans have been coming and going all day.

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A total of 50 victims have been confirmed dead after Friday's terror attack on two Christchurch mosques, with victims ranging in age from 2 to older than 60.

Accused mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant appeared at Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning.

Blessings were held at both Al Noor Mosque by Hagley Park and Linwood Mosque this morning, alongside local iwi.