Christchurch Sri Lankans still recovering from the March terrorist attack are in "shock" over bombings in their homeland that killed more than 200 people and injured hundreds more.

Subashini Surendran, secretary of the Canterbury Tamil Society, said it was "very emotional news" for them, especially given the Christchurch mosque attacks a month ago.

A friend of her husband's had been killed in an explosion at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, and they knew many friends and family in the country affected. Her parents were in Colombo but she had heard they were safe.

"We are very sad, especially as we are still recovering from the attacks here," said Surendran.

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"We came here from Sri Lanka for peace after decades of civil war. What happened [in Christchurch] really shocked us, and now to see this in Sri Lanka is terrible, not just for us but a lot of Sri Lankans here."

Sri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying injured from church blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo / AP
Sri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying injured from church blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo / AP

Surendran and her husband Suren were from Jaffna in the north of Sri Lanka, but had lived in Colombo for about 18 years before moving to New Zealand in 2016.

A young woman killed at the Shangri-La Hotel was an old colleague and friend of Suren.

"I worked with her at HSBC Bank in Colombo," he said.

"I heard she was just in the hotel at the time. It is very, very sad.

"We also know friends of friends who have been killed as well."

The suicide bombers struck churches and hotels in the capital Colombo, Negombo to the north and Batticaloa in the east, in a highly co-ordinated attack, killing at least 207 people and injuring 450 on Easter Sunday.

Subashini Surendran, secretary of the Canterbury Tamil Society, had lived in Colombo with her husband for 18 years before moving to Christchurch. Photo / Supplied
Subashini Surendran, secretary of the Canterbury Tamil Society, had lived in Colombo with her husband for 18 years before moving to Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the civil war fought between 1983 and 2009.

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That war evolved out of tensions between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil populations, and claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people and displaced nearly one million. There are no indications these attacks are related.

The Tamil population makes up about 12 per cent of Sri Lanka's 22 million people, and Sinhalese 75 per cent. About a million Tamils live abroad.

Surendran said there were about 25 Tamil families living in Christchurch, most who had been heavily affected by the bloody civil war.

There were also about 1000 Sinhalese Sri Lankans living in Christchurch, she said.

Kiwi sisters Colleen Dunning from Queenstown and Erin Clark from Auckland had been staying at Galle Face Hotel, along the waterfront from Shangri-La and Grand Cinnamon hotels where explosions occurred.

"We were walking along the waterfront this morning, where families were gathering for a day on the green. We heard a huge explosion followed by sirens and then a few minutes later there was another explosion which was very close to our hotel."

They turned back to their hotel, unaware of the scale of the devastation that had happened, and were only informed about 30 minutes later by their tour guide as they made their way out of the city.

They were now down the coast in the city of Galle, and while they were under curfew felt "very safe and have no concerns for our safety".

"We feel for the beautiful people of Sri Lanka."

Sri Lankan Army soldiers secure the area around St. Anthony's Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo / AP
Sri Lankan Army soldiers secure the area around St. Anthony's Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo / AP

Federation of Tamil Associations in New Zealand co-ordinator Dr Siva Vasanthan said the organisation "fiercely condemns these attacks and expresses our sincere condolences and support to the affected families".

"These attacks on innocent civilians are no less treacherous than the recent attacks in Christchurch and should be dealt with the same manner.

"FTANZ would closely work with the New Zealand Government and public and take an active role in fundraising to help the victims' families back in our homeland."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Herald 214 New Zealanders were registered as being in the South Asian country.

However, there were no reports of any New Zealand citizens being caught up in the explosions.

"New Zealanders in Sri Lanka are advised to exercise a high degree of vigilance in public areas and to follow any advice issued by local authorities," an Mfat spokesperson said.

"New Zealanders in Sri Lanka in need of consular assistance should contact the New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi on +91 11 468 83170."

Kiwis in the country are being asked to register their details at www.safetravel.govt.nz.