The presence of armed police officers brought solace for the many worshippers who ventured inside their Hastings mosque yesterday for the first time since the Christchurch terror attacks.

Hundreds of flowers and messages of hope and peace line the fence surrounding the mosque - a welcome sight for those wary of praying.

In an emotional address outside the mosque, Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust board of trustee member and president, Sayeed Ahmed, said the community was still grieving but it was also time to return to some sort of normalcy.

The Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust opened for the first time since the Christchurch terrorist attack. Photo / Paul Taylor
The Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust opened for the first time since the Christchurch terrorist attack. Photo / Paul Taylor

Police had urged all mosques across the country to close their doors following the attack. Ahmed would not open the doors until Police Commissioner, Mike Bush gave him the all-clear.

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While he believes their faith will keep them safe, the security is a welcomed "precaution".
"We were very scared, but slowly, slowly we are feeling better."

He said only a few people attended their prayers, but hoped, as the days went on, more people will feel safe to show their faith.

Outside the gates, Lianna Wharerau brought her two children to pay their respects.
Visibly emotional, she said she didn't know why she came, but said it felt like the "right thing to do".

Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust board of trustee member and president, Sayeed Ahmed. Photo / Paul Taylor
Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust board of trustee member and president, Sayeed Ahmed. Photo / Paul Taylor

Hearing of the events had affected her and her family, as it has for many New Zealanders.

"I can't explain the feeling. It is just so tragic."

She said, if one good thing has come out of it, it is the way everyone has "come together". "It has united everyone in such a huge way".

Janet Pritchard's two grandchildren, Reuben, 9, and Alex, 6, wanted to show her their tributes they had written.

"We are very sorry for what has happened. You should have been safe here ... We love you all and you didn't deserve this. I hope you are reading this from heaven," their card read.

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Pritchard said it is just "awful".

"It is hard to find the words. I feel for those who lost their family and friends' and those who are still in hospital."

Later last night, Margaret Taylor, and several friends came out to water the plants - one of a number of times since the attack.

Ahmed said he would leave the flowers outside until they dried.

As for the many cards, he plans to bring them inside at some stage, and keep them in a "special place".

He thanked everyone for their support.

"New Zealand is my home; New Zealand is my heart, New Zealand is my everything. I want nothing bad for this country."