Two smiling teenagers. A Kiwi Islam-convert. Retired engineer. Community elder. A kind, humble all-rounder. An Afghan father-of-seven. Indian software engineer. A visiting Fijian businessman and a holidaying imam.

But they were so much more. Full, whole lives, leaving behind layers of lost love and grief, now buried under layers of dirt heaped on their shrouded bodies by hundreds of mourners.

Mourners comforting each other during the funerals at Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Mourners comforting each other during the funerals at Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Nine victims of the Christchurch terror attacks were laid to rest in Christchurch today: Sayyad Ahmed Milne, 14, Tariq Rashid Omar, 24, Linda Susan Armstrong, 64, Farhaj Ahsan, 30, Hussein Mohamed Khalil Mustafa, 70, Haji Mohammed Daoud Nabi, 71, Matiullah Safi, 55, Ashraf Ali, 61, Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi, 17.

In Auckland, thousands farewelled Hafiz Musa Patel, imam at Lautoka Jame Masjid in Fiji for quarter of a century who had been visiting Christchurch with his wife.

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Yesterday, the first six victims were buried: Khaled and Hamza Mustafa, Junaid Ismail, Ashraf Ali, Lilik Hamid, and another man whose name is currently suppressed by the courts.

They have been laid to rest in a large Muslim section of the Memorial Park Cemetery in eastern Christchurch – just 1km or so from Linwood Mosque where a gunman shot dead seven people at Friday prayer last week.

Mourners arrive at the Puhinui Memorial Gardens in Auckland for the funeral of Imam Hafiz Musa Patel. Photo / Dean Purcell
Mourners arrive at the Puhinui Memorial Gardens in Auckland for the funeral of Imam Hafiz Musa Patel. Photo / Dean Purcell

The teenage Cashmere High School student Milne has been remembered as an inspirational young man, and brilliant fearless football goalkeeper. His name means proud or brave.

Today, he was laid to rest at just 14 years old.

"It's so hard ... to see him just gunned down by someone who didn't care about anyone or anything," said his father John, who lives in Tauranga.

"I know where he is. I know he's at peace."

Milne's final resting place is alongside Omar – who attended the same Christchurch secondary school – and also died at the hands of a gunman inside Al Noor Mosque on Friday. In all, 50 people died in the shootings.

The tragic, unprecedented nature of the deaths means that some Islamic funereal traditions are not possible.

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The funerals would usually take place in a mosque. But both of Christchurch's two mosques are still being cleaned up after Friday's massacres, so a large white marquee has been set up at the site.

The bodies would usually be buried within a day. Today's burials came six days after the disaster, after being held by police for official identification.

Thousands of male mourners crowded around the shrouded bodies today while headscarved women stood back. Armed police officers were stationed around the perimeter of the cemetery and a large media contingent kept its distance across the road.

After Salat al-Janazah or funeral prayers, the bodies wrapped in white shrouds were held aloft by male members of their family and carried across the grounds.

"Pick up our brother Tariq," a man said over a loudspeaker. "And pick up our brother Sayyad. Let us support them. Let us put them first. Do not rush. We will all get our turn, Inshallah."

As the bodies were lowered into the graves, mourners uttered, "Bismillah wa ala millati rasulilllah" or "In the name of Allah and in the faith of the Messenger of Allah".

One by one, they lined up to cast three handfuls of dirt into the graves. They held each other as they walked off, past the other empty graves.