New Zealand fell silent yesterday as the nation mourned the 50 Muslim men, women and children gunned down in their places of worship just a week earlier.

And at Hagley Park - close to the scene of where 42 people were killed at the Al Noor Mosque - Imam Gamal Fouda gave a moving address telling a crowd of thousands: "New Zealand is unbreakable. We are broken-hearted but we are not broken."

The gathering – which was attended by Muslim devotees and other New Zealanders wanting to pay their respects to the dead, the injured and their loved ones - was to mark the Jummah Salah, or afternoon prayer.

It was at this event at the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid last Friday that the alleged gunman killed 50 people and injured 48 more.

Advertisement

"Last Friday I stood in this mosque and saw hatred and rage in the eyes of the terrorist who killed 50 people, wounded 48 and broke the hearts of millions around the world," Fouda said.

"Today, from the same place, I look out and I see the love and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and human beings from across the globe who fill the hearts of millions warm.

"The terrorist tried to tear the nation apart with evil ideology but instead we have shown the New Zealand is unbreakable.

"We are broken hearted but we are not broken."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves as she leaves Friday prayers at Hagley Park in Christchurch. Photo / AP
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves as she leaves Friday prayers at Hagley Park in Christchurch. Photo / AP

He told the families of victims their loved ones did not die in vain.

"Their blood has watered the seeds of hope, and it will show the world the beauty of Islam."

He said those who died "were the best of us taken on the best of days in the best of places".

"They are not just martyrs of Islam but also New Zealand," he said.

Advertisement

Appreciation for the actions of many in the ongoing aftermath of the massacre featured prominently in Fouda's address.

"To the people of New Zealand, thank you. Thank you for your tears, thank you for your haka, thank you for your flowers, thank you for your love and your compassion," he said.

"To our Prime Minister, thank you. Thank you for your leadership, it has been a lesson for the world's leaders."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had earlier addressed the large gathering saying: "New Zealand mourns with you. We are one."

Fouda also thanked first responders who helped save lives and neighbours and people driving past who helped save people.

Linwood Mosque Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah, kneeling, and Al Noor Mosque Imam Gamal Fouda during the call to prayer at Hagley Park yesterday. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Linwood Mosque Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah, kneeling, and Al Noor Mosque Imam Gamal Fouda during the call to prayer at Hagley Park yesterday. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"Our assembly here with all the shades of diversity is a testament to our joint humanity. Love will redeem us."

Linwood Mosque's Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah - who survived the shooting and helped protect his people - also led the Friday prayer.

Prior to the imam's speech and the Friday prayer, a call to prayer was issued and a two-minute period of silence was held at Hagley Park and across our grieving nation.

Poignant footage from the Friday prayer memorial was broadcast live across the globe, including footage of several of the survivors of the tragedy who were seated in wheelchairs, bandaged and wearing hospital robes.

While the service was carried out, a line of hearses arrived at the nearby Memorial Park Cemetery for a combined burial of 26 of the mosque shooting victims.

Among those being buried was 3-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim, the youngest victim to be killed in the attack after becoming separated from his father at the Al Noor Mosque.

More stories of the horror that unfolded last Friday also came to light.

Zaid Mustafa, 14, told how he wished he could trade places with his father and brother who died in the attack.

The faithful pray while attending the huge Friday pray meeting that was held in Hagley Park Christchurch. Photo / Alan Gibson
The faithful pray while attending the huge Friday pray meeting that was held in Hagley Park Christchurch. Photo / Alan Gibson

The teen – who was shot in the leg - saw his beloved elder brother, 16-year-old Hamza, being shot as they tried to escape the shooting. At the time, the brothers did not know that their father, Khaled, 44, had been shot dead.

Hamza and Khaled were laid to rest on Thursday. Zaid said he was feeling so sad that he felt that if his brother and father were alive "it would be better".

Earlier in the day, New Zealand Police confirmed a vetting officer had visited the Dunedin home of the accused gunman in the month before he received his gun licence.

Police revealed the alleged gunman also used two referees, both residents of New Zealand, after an earlier referee, a family member, was not permitted because they did not live here.

"Based on the information available to us at this time, we have found that correct process was followed by staff involved in the firearms licence application," a spokesperson said.

The accused filed an application for a firearms licence in September 2017 in Dunedin. The licence was approved two months later.

A police officer stands guard with a rose the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch. Photo / AP
A police officer stands guard with a rose the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch. Photo / AP

In Auckland, thousands last night gathered for a vigil at the Domain. Thousands more gathered outside mosques and at vigils around the country including in Tauranga, Rotorua, Whanganui, Gisborne, Nelson, Dunedin and Wellington at Kilbirnie Mosque where people formed a human chain.

Mongrel Mob members turned out to the afternoon prayers at Jamia Masjid in Hamilton and performed a haka afterwards. Waikato chapter president Sonny Fatu said they wanted to be there for the community in a time of need - "because pain's the same for everyone".

Mosques in four corners of Auckland opened their doors to people of all faiths last night to remember the 50 lives lost.

The mosques - Ponsonby Masjid, Ranui Mosque, North Shore Islamic Centre and the Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq – were open to all from 5pm to 8pm.

New Zealand Muslim Association president Ikhlaq Kashkari said it was an opportunity to thank the community for its support, compassion and kindness in the aftermath of the attack.

"It is important now, more than ever, to show solidarity and band together with our brothers and sisters across the country."

Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates said 27 of the people injured in Friday's shootings were still in Christchurch Hospital last night, with five remaining in critical condition in intensive care. Two more had been discharged during the past 24 hours.

The events in Christchurch are distressing. If you, or someone you know, needs mental wellbeing support or advice then call or text 1737 anytime. There is advice on coping after a traumatic event here https://www.health.govt.nz/node/9714. It includes information for parents for children.