A father-of-three described by one of his daughters as having a "heart of gold" was killed while trying to help his injured Muslim brothers during the Christchurch terror attacks.

"When the person went to reload his gun, my dad got up and went round telling people 'I'm not hurt, how can I help' and as he was searching for people to help he bumped right into the person and was shot," Sara Qasem told the Herald.

Abdelfattah Qasem's Friday afternoon ritual was simple - prayer at the Masjid Al Noor mosque before a coffee with his best mates at the McCafe round the corner.

"I always know that if my dad's phone is flat or I can't get hold of him. On Friday afternoon that's where he will be," Sara said.

Advertisement

READ MORE:
'It's not my time': Mosque survivor confounds doctors after being shot in head, shoulder

However, on Friday March 15 Abdel, as his family called him, didn't make it for coffee.

Instead, the 60-year-old was gunned down along with 49 other victims that day.

Sara had just finished an observation class, as she is in her first year of teaching, when she was told there had been a shooting at two Christchurch mosques.

She said when he wasn't responding to any of her family she knew something was not right.

"That feeling is not something I'd wish on anyone in the whole world. My heart sunk and my body just dropped and I just knew.

The whole family together at Abdel's daughter Lulu's wedding. Photo / Supplied
The whole family together at Abdel's daughter Lulu's wedding. Photo / Supplied

"My father is the person who has the answers to everything. When we couldn't find him I knew it wasn't in his hands because he would have found us," she said.

The last time Sara saw her dad was one of those moments that was just meant to be.

Advertisement

"I don't live with my parents. They live on a lifestyle block out of the city so I usually only visit them in the weekends.

"The Wednesday before he died, I had finished school and was exhausted and something inside of me just thought 'okay I'm going to go home'...I never do that and I can't explain why I did that day," Sara said.

Sara has endless treasured memories with her father Abdelfattah Qasem - pictured with his lovely wife Siham. Photo / Supplied
Sara has endless treasured memories with her father Abdelfattah Qasem - pictured with his lovely wife Siham. Photo / Supplied

Special memories with her father are endless.

"He was your typical Kiwi bloke who loved trips to Bunnings, fixing things, getting stuck into farm jobs and spending time with animals.

"I remember driving with him to Bunnings one time and I surprised him by playing one of his favourite songs on the aux cord, Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean, and the way his eyes lit up was incredible."

Qasem was born in Palestine and had studied in Canada and the United States. He migrated to New Zealand with his three daughters and wife Siham in 2002.

He was former secretary of the Muslim Association of Canterbury and worked for Interpreting New Zealand, helping people with their Arabic and English.

"When he arrived to New Zealand language was no barrier because he had this huge smile and ability to just connect with people.

"He died doing what he always does, helping people," Sara said.

A funeral was held for Qasem at Christchurch's Memorial Park Cemetery in Bromley. He was laid to rest in a mass burial alongside his companions.