Neighbours who live by the back fence of the Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave offered shelter to dozens of people who managed to escape from the mosque after the shooting started on Friday.

Jason, a neighbour who only wanted to give his first name, told the Herald that he saw dozens of people leap over his 2m-high fence in a panic and then sprint down the driveway, away from the shooting.

He opened his front door to offer refuge, and about 10 people ran inside, he said.

"There were lots of people climbing over the fence here and then got help here."

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He said they stayed for several minutes before police arrived at the scene.

He said the whole massacre came as a complete shock, and he was still processing what had happened.

"No one wants such a thing to happen."

At the base of Jason's side of the fence, there is now a single vase of flowers.

Several people in the mosque have described escaping - some through a broken window - and then jumping over the fence that surrounds the property before running for their lives.

Floral tributes to the mosque shooting victims at Hagley Park, Christchurch. Photo / Michael Craig
Floral tributes to the mosque shooting victims at Hagley Park, Christchurch. Photo / Michael Craig

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he also reacted to seeing people streaming over his fence by opening the door and offering a safe place to hide.

He would not say anything further, adding police had told him not to say anything at all.

Neighbour Len Peneha has also described offering shelter to people in his house until police arrive.

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"It's unbelievably nutty," Peneha said. "I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous."