Father and son Khaled and Hamza Mustafa died together in terror - but now they will rest together in peace forever.

The pair - Syrian refugees who moved to New Zealand six months ago hoping for a better life - were the first of the 50 Christchurch terror victims to be laid to rest at a funeral service in the city's east today.

Khaled was 44 and Hamza - his eldest child - just 16.

Both were gunned down at the Al Noor mosque and it is understood Hamza was on the phone to his mother Salwa when he was shot dead.

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Khaled Mustafa.
Khaled Mustafa.

Hours later, four others were buried.

Junaid Ismail , 36, was also killed at Al Noor.

His twin brother Zahid escaped.

A man whose name is suppressed was also laid to rest.

He is the only person to date that the gunman has been charged with murdering.

Ashraf Ali, 58, was a businessman, from Suva, had only arrived in the country six days before the terror attack.

It was one of his yearly visits to see his older brother Ramzan , who works as a halal food inspector in Christchurch.

Hamza Mustafa.
Hamza Mustafa.

After the massacre a frantic Ramzan scanned grainy footage taken from inside mosque looking for a glimpse of his younger brother.

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He saw a grey-haired man lying prone on a pile of dead bodies, wearing the black and white rugby jersey of his home country.

"That's him," Ramzam said.

"Straight away I knew."

Lilik Abdul Hamid was buried after 7pm.

He worked for Air New Zealand in Christchurch as an aircraft maintenance engineer.

The 58-year-old leaves behind two children.

All of the burials today were similar - simplistic, quiet and dignified events in line with the Muslim culture.

At the first, Khaled Mustafa's younger son Zaid was helped into the cemetery in a wheelchair.

The 13-year-old was shot and badly injured when the gunman opened fire indiscriminately at worshippers at 1.40pm on Friday.

As the bodies of his father and brother arrived at the Memorial Park Cemetery, silence descended over the already quiet scene.

Hundreds of men, women and children had been gathering in the hour leading up to the
service - some hugged, others reflected.

Muslim funeral services - Janazah - are usually held in mosques and strict protocol is followed.

However that is simply not possible in Christchurch after the tragic events that unfolded on Friday.

So, instead of a mosque was a marquee.

Instead of privacy to farewell and mourn, the world's media watched from across the road.

Kahled and Hamza began their final journey today at a Christchurch funeral home, then they were carried in a white van escorted by police, across the city they loved and called home to their final resting place.

Their shrouded bodies were contained in simple open boxes and carried aloft, high above the heads of their loved ones, into the marquee.

The men moved inside, the women remained in a separate area as per custom.

A solemn voice came across a specially-erected PA system, giving instructions to the mourners whose number grew by the minute.

An evacuation plan was in place, a grim reminder of what has happened in the southern city which is still on high alert.

Mourners were then reminded that it was not a traditional funeral and the things they would usually do to assist the families and bury the dead may not be appropriate in the current setting.

"Our number one priority is the families," said the voice, ringing out across the cemetery.

"This is all about the families... they need a chance to grieve.

"Please respect that.

"I know everyone is here to help... we are all here to pay our respects to those who have fallen."

He urged mourners to stay calm and respect what the families wanted - even if they wanted to help and follow usual protocol.

That usual protocol was not possible today.

After the bodies were taken inside and positioned as per Muslim custom, the Salat al-Janazah (funeral prayers) began.

Kahled and Hamza were flanked by their family as their community surrounded them in numbers to send them off.

The silence was heavy, the air still and the magnitude of the grief and tragedy not lost on anyone present.

While it is acceptable in Islam to express grief over death by crying and weeping "wailing and shrieking, tearing of clothing and breaking of objects, and expressing a lack of faith
in Allah are all prohibited".

"It is a very special moment, a very moving moment," said another man over the PA.

He called on his brothers to line up, to pray.

Everyone else present, gathered in unity under the overcast Christchurch sky was no doubt doing the same in their own way.

As the brothers faced qiblah - Mecca - and prayed, the words Allahu Akbar rang out over the PA, breaking the silence.

Four times it rang out.

Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.

"God is greatest".

Then, it was time to place Kahled and Hamza in their graves.

Mounds of dirt from lines of graves specially dug this week were visible from the road - a sight no one in Christchurch could ever imagine they would see.

It is a city used to burying its dead, and on mass - but no amount of fatal quakes could have prepared them for this massacre.

Khaled and Hamza were carried by those who loved them most across the dusty landscape and lowered into their graves.

Those placing the body in the graves recited "Bismillah wa ala millati rasulilllah" or "in the name of Allah and in the faith of the Messenger of Allah".

Once laid to rest, a layer of wood or stones was be placed on top of it to prevent the bodies coming into direct contact with the soil that will fill the grave.

Those who wanted to filed past, throwing in handfuls of soil and paying their last respect.

And then, it was done.

Kahled and Hamza were buried as they died - together.

But today they lay in peace - with no fear, evil or terror.

And after them, their brothers.

One by one.