The family of a man killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings called the accused gunman a coward outside the High Court today.

Yama Nabi, whose father was Haji Daoud Nabi was killed at Al Noor Mosque, said it was important he was at court today.

Outside court, he described the alleged gunman as a "coward" after the brief hearing before the judge.

Nabi said it would be a long process but he wanted justice.

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Nabi had attempted to attend the accused's first court appearance but was prevented from entering the courtroom.

"[I] just want to see what he has to say, what sort of feeling he's got [his] emotion, to see what his reaction is, good or bad and the truth will come out of him," Yama Nabi told RNZ before this morning's court hearing.

"They didn't harm him, no one harmed him."

Nabi said it was too early to consider forgiveness.

"How can you forgive someone if your father's not calling you, talking to you on the phone, putting a smile on your face from morning to night?

"How can you forgive someone for doing that? I mean in the end it's in the hands of Allah almighty god."

Around 50 family members of the mosque attack victims filed into the courtroom for the appearance of the accused gunman

Meanwhile, mental health reports have been ordered to explore whether the man accused of the attacks is mentally fit to enter pleas.

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The 28-year-old Australian national appeared via audio-visual link from custody in the High Court at Christchurch this morning.

There were also more than two dozen reporters from New Zealand and around the world, along with eight police officers and several security staff.

The accused, whose address has been listed on charging documents as Andersons Bay in Dunedin, did not speak during the short hearing.

Police yesterday confirmed that the alleged shooter now faces 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges.

Police have said other charges are still under consideration.

Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes confirmed the Crown has filed the charges.

The defence team today asked for mental health expert to assess the accused under section 38 of the Mental Health Act to determine whether the defendant is mentally fit or impaired and whether he is mentally able to enter pleas to the charges.

Justice Cameron Mander ordered two health assessors' reports, which Tait said could take two to three months to complete.