Members of the New Zealand technology industry are remembering two of their own slain in the Christchurch mosque shootings, and are fundraising for their families.

More than $205,000 has been raised so far on Givealittle pages for 33-year-old web entrepreneur Atta Elayyan (donate here) and 34-year-old senior software engineer Syed Jahandad Ali (here).

Both were family men and fathers of young children.

Kuwait-born Elayyan founded a startup, Lazy Worm Applications (LWA), creating 14 jobs over nearly a decade of hard graft.


Ali, originally from Pakistan, worked for Intergen, the Microsoft-focussed IT services company founded (as Advantage Group) by Rod Drury in 1999. He arrived in 2012 and became a lead developer.

"Syed Ali readily adapted to Kiwi culture. We went to a BBQ and he joined us at a rugby game," Intergen client director Richard "Scruff" Malloch remembered in a post.

"Then he was in Hokitika for his first big project with us. He had the full NZ immersion. His wife joined him, and later they had three wonderful children.

Syed Ali was
Syed Ali was "so gentle and hard working," a colleague remembers. Photo / Supplied

"He was so gentle and so hard working. He went off to the mosque on Friday as usual, but this time he never came back. The office won't be the same without you, Syed."

Ibrahim Bkerat remembered meeting Ali when he started at Intergen in Christchurch: "I asked him about a place to where I could pray and he took me the first time to that mosque [Masjid Al Noor]. He was really decent humble and great person. He was always a hard worker and a team supporter."

Graham West posted, "My daughter-in-law works for Intergen and I understand the grief this barbaric act has cast over the company. They are and will forever be the true New Zealand."

NZ-based Microsoft global engineering lead Nigel Parker posted, "Atta Elayyan to me was one of those people that you are lucky to meet in your lifetime. He was a genuine leader, talented designer and inspiring entrepreneur."

The pair crossed paths as Elayyan used various Microsoft tools as his company created mobile apps and did cutting-edge work in augmented reality (AR).


In the clip above, shot in 2012, he discusses new apps. Mobile tech has since moved on from the platform he talks about, but Parker said it was a great illustration of Elayyan's passion and rare appreciation for both engineering and design.

Atta Elayyan with his wife Farah and 2-year-old daughter Aya. Photo / Supplied
Atta Elayyan with his wife Farah and 2-year-old daughter Aya. Photo / Supplied

"I supported Atta to follow his passion to start his company Lazy Worm Apps. Atta didn't need much help he was hungry and took every opportunity that was presented to him," Parker wrote.

"In eight years, he grew the company from nothing, leveraging the small amount of payments that he was getting for his apps and no external investment to employee 14 people."

Parker remembered Elayyan as a passionate speaker at various industry events.

"He ran summer programmes for students looking for work experience, contributed greatly to the tech community in Christchurch and around the world."

"Atta's drive to mastery also took him to the top of the NZ indoor soccer competition where he represents NZ as the goal keeper in the NZ national futsal team."

Atta Elayyan with his daughter Aya. Photo / Supplied
Atta Elayyan with his daughter Aya. Photo / Supplied

Microsoft global CEO Satya Nadella remembered both men in a post, writing: "Hate and violence have no place in our society. We mourn all the victims of the horrific attack in New Zealand including Atta Elayyan and Syed Jahandad Ali, who were part of our Microsoft MVP and partner communities. Our hearts are with the victims' families and loved ones."

Read the stories of all 50 who lost their lives in the Christchurch shootings here.