About 15,000 people have turned up to Fosyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tonight to pay their respects to those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks.

Members of the public, University of Otago staff and students marched in complete silence to Forsyth Barr Stadium ahead of this evening's vigil in honour of the victims of the Christchurch terror attacks.

No words. No cellphones in sight. The huge crowd of people started marching to the stadium from the university about 5.30pm. The vigil is set to begin at 7pm.

The crowd of people was so long that by the time the first people reached the stadium others at the end of the queue were still at the university.

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By the time the whole queue had entered the stadium and others had arrived for the vigil there appeared to be over 15,000 in attendance.

Fifteen-thousand people gathered at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin to pay respect to the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks. Photo / ODT
Fifteen-thousand people gathered at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin to pay respect to the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks. Photo / ODT

The ceremony was opened with a karakia and a greeting by Matapura Ellison.

"Whatever your background, whatever your faith, whatever your community," we have gathered here together today, he said.

This was then followed by a waiata by the Otago University Maori Students Association and a prayer by Sheikh Asrarul Haque Obaidullah.

"Bless these people who are supporting each other and are standing side by side with each other," he said.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull also gave a welcoming speech to the crowd.

"There is no point in dwelling on the perpetrator this only validates him and his poisonous beliefs", Mr Cull said.

We cannot help the dead, "they are now in the arms of the all mighty." We must support those who are left, he said.

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"We need to examine what needs to change so that this does not happen again."