Tearful students perform a moving haka dance outside Christchurch mosque

Hundreds of students have gathered to pay tribute to those killed in the Christchurch massacre – with some performing a traditional haka dance.

Tearful youngsters have staged vigils around New Zealand in the wake of the horrifying attack, that left 50 dead and dozens injured at two mosques in the city.

Some came together for moving renditions of the haka – a traditional Maori ceremonial dance. Others lit candles and embraced outside the Al Noor mosque – one of two targeted on Friday. 

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after the mass shootings.

Hundreds of New Zealand school children today gathered to pay tribute to those killed in the Christchurch massacre - with some performing a traditional haka dance (pictured)

Hundreds of New Zealand school children today gathered to pay tribute to those killed in the Christchurch massacre - with some performing a traditional haka dance (pictured)

Hundreds of New Zealand school children today gathered to pay tribute to those killed in the Christchurch massacre – with some performing a traditional haka dance (pictured)

Some came together for moving performances of the haka - a traditional Maori ceremonial dance that has been performed by groups across New Zealand in recent days

Some came together for moving performances of the haka - a traditional Maori ceremonial dance that has been performed by groups across New Zealand in recent days

Some came together for moving performances of the haka – a traditional Maori ceremonial dance that has been performed by groups across New Zealand in recent days

High school students performed a haka during a vigil near Al Noor mosque on Monday in Christchurch, New Zealand

High school students performed a haka during a vigil near Al Noor mosque on Monday in Christchurch, New Zealand

High school students performed a haka during a vigil near Al Noor mosque on Monday in Christchurch, New Zealand

Students perform the Haka during a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday's shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Students perform the Haka during a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday's shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Students perform the Haka during a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday’s shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Tearful youngsters staged vigils around the country in the wake of the horrifying attack, that left 50 dead and dozens injured at two mosques in the southern city

Tearful youngsters staged vigils around the country in the wake of the horrifying attack, that left 50 dead and dozens injured at two mosques in the southern city

Tearful youngsters staged vigils around the country in the wake of the horrifying attack, that left 50 dead and dozens injured at two mosques in the southern city

Schoolgirls comforted each other as they viewed flowers and tributes to those who died in the shooting attacks at mosques in Christchurch

Schoolgirls comforted each other as they viewed flowers and tributes to those who died in the shooting attacks at mosques in Christchurch

Schoolgirls comforted each other as they viewed flowers and tributes to those who died in the shooting attacks at mosques in Christchurch

Grief continued to wash across the nation today, with New Zealanders of all stripes gathering to express revulsion over the killings – and a unified front against racial hatred.

Family and friends outside Al Noor mosque – the scene of the largest massacre – held a sunset prayer session, with their mournful cries echoing through a park as locals looked on.

‘It just happened to be the time of our evening prayer. Anywhere you are, you can just pray anywhere,’ Saiyad Raza, who had travelled from Auckland to bury his cousin who died in the shootings, told AFP.

Earlier, a Maori cleansing ceremony was performed at the mosque, bringing together indigenous Kiwis, Muslim leaders and local officials. 

In Auckland, students at Orewa College gathered to form a heart and the message ‘Kia Kaha’ – ‘stay strong’ in Maori. 

Grief continued to wash across the nation today, with New Zealanders of all stripes gathering to express revulsion over the killings - and a unified front against racial hatred

Grief continued to wash across the nation today, with New Zealanders of all stripes gathering to express revulsion over the killings - and a unified front against racial hatred

Grief continued to wash across the nation today, with New Zealanders of all stripes gathering to express revulsion over the killings – and a unified front against racial hatred

School children performed moving renditions of the haka outside the Al Noor mosque - the scene of a mass shooting on Friday

School children performed moving renditions of the haka outside the Al Noor mosque - the scene of a mass shooting on Friday

School children performed moving renditions of the haka outside the Al Noor mosque – the scene of a mass shooting on Friday

The haka has been performed by a number of groups in New Zealand in the wake of the devastating attacks on Friday

The haka has been performed by a number of groups in New Zealand in the wake of the devastating attacks on Friday

The haka has been performed by a number of groups in New Zealand in the wake of the devastating attacks on Friday

Some school students lit candles and embraced as they tried to come to terms with the horrifying events on Friday

Some school students lit candles and embraced as they tried to come to terms with the horrifying events on Friday

Some school students lit candles and embraced as they tried to come to terms with the horrifying events on Friday

United in grief: Teenagers embrace as they pay tribute to those killed in the sickening mosque attacks in Christchurch on Friday

United in grief: Teenagers embrace as they pay tribute to those killed in the sickening mosque attacks in Christchurch on Friday

United in grief: Teenagers embrace as they pay tribute to those killed in the sickening mosque attacks in Christchurch on Friday

A mourner takes a picture of candles commemorating victims of Friday's shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

A mourner takes a picture of candles commemorating victims of Friday's shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

A mourner takes a picture of candles commemorating victims of Friday’s shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Young people lit candles during a vigil to commemorate the 50 people who were shot dead in Friday's terror attack

Young people lit candles during a vigil to commemorate the 50 people who were shot dead in Friday's terror attack

Young people lit candles during a vigil to commemorate the 50 people who were shot dead in Friday’s terror attack

Hundreds of students gathered to light candles and leave flowers outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch today

Hundreds of students gathered to light candles and leave flowers outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch today

Hundreds of students gathered to light candles and leave flowers outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch today

Young women weep as they hold each other for comfort during a students vigil near Al Noor mosque

Young women weep as they hold each other for comfort during a students vigil near Al Noor mosque

Young women weep as they hold each other for comfort during a students vigil near Al Noor mosque

A Muslim worshipper prays at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Rd in Christchurch

A Muslim worshipper prays at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Rd in Christchurch

A Muslim worshipper prays at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Rd in Christchurch

Photos of the victims are seen among flowers at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque

Photos of the victims are seen among flowers at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque

Photos of the victims are seen among flowers at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque

Police have moved flowers to the front of the Al Noor mosque on behalf of those who want to pay their respects

Police have moved flowers to the front of the Al Noor mosque on behalf of those who want to pay their respects

Police have moved flowers to the front of the Al Noor mosque on behalf of those who want to pay their respects

Members of the public look at flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Linwood Mosque on Linwood Rd in Christchurch

Members of the public look at flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Linwood Mosque on Linwood Rd in Christchurch

Members of the public look at flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Linwood Mosque on Linwood Rd in Christchurch

A Muslim worshipper prays in front of the crime scene barrier at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand

A Muslim worshipper prays in front of the crime scene barrier at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand

A Muslim worshipper prays in front of the crime scene barrier at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand

A man cries near his children in front of floral tributes across the road from the Masjid Al Noor mosque

A man cries near his children in front of floral tributes across the road from the Masjid Al Noor mosque

A man cries near his children in front of floral tributes across the road from the Masjid Al Noor mosque

A small child adds a flower to tributes for those who were killed in the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch

A small child adds a flower to tributes for those who were killed in the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch

A small child adds a flower to tributes for those who were killed in the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch

Mourners have placed flowers and tributes to those who were killed during Friday's attacks at two mosques

Mourners have placed flowers and tributes to those who were killed during Friday's attacks at two mosques

Mourners have placed flowers and tributes to those who were killed during Friday’s attacks at two mosques

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s government has said it will tighten gun laws in the wake of its worst modern-day massacre as it emerged that the white supremacist accused of carrying out the killings at two mosques will represent himself in court.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her coalition was unified on the need to reduce the availability of the kind of weapons used by alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant. 

‘We have made a decision as a cabinet, we are unified,’ she said, flanked by her coalition partner and deputy prime minister, Winston Peters.

Peters, whose New Zealand First party has previously opposed changes, said he backed the prime minister fully.

‘The reality is that after one pm on Friday our world changed forever, and so will our laws,’ he said.

Candles and hand-written messages scrawled on the pavement in chalk were left at a memorial site at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch

Candles and hand-written messages scrawled on the pavement in chalk were left at a memorial site at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch

Candles and hand-written messages scrawled on the pavement in chalk were left at a memorial site at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch

Students light candles as they gather for a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday's shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Students light candles as they gather for a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday's shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Students light candles as they gather for a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday’s shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Two people comfort one another as one breaks down in tears outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, today

Two people comfort one another as one breaks down in tears outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, today

Two people comfort one another as one breaks down in tears outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, today

Students and staff at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch sat for a vigil as they remembered those killed in the horrifying attack

Students and staff at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch sat for a vigil as they remembered those killed in the horrifying attack

Students and staff at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch sat for a vigil as they remembered those killed in the horrifying attack

Teenagers looked on in solemn silence as they commemorated the dead and showed their support for the city's Muslim community

Teenagers looked on in solemn silence as they commemorated the dead and showed their support for the city's Muslim community

Teenagers looked on in solemn silence as they commemorated the dead and showed their support for the city’s Muslim community

Two students broke down in tears as they attended the vigil outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand today

Two students broke down in tears as they attended the vigil outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand today

Two students broke down in tears as they attended the vigil outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand today

Ardern said there would be an inquiry into the horrifying attack, as questions swirl over whether intelligence agencies should have spotted warning signs.   

The organisers of New Zealand’s largest gun show – the Kumeu Militaria Show, near Auckland – announced Monday they had cancelled the event in the wake of the massacre and because of ‘elevated security risks’.

Despite having tightened the rules in the 1990s after the last mass shooting, New Zealand has relatively permissive gun laws, with licences granted to nearly every applicant.

David Tipple, the managing director of Gun City, whose online store sold Tarrant four weapons, said he felt no responsibility for the killings.

‘We detected nothing extraordinary about this licence holder,’ he told reporters.

Tarrant, who appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder, on Monday sacked his state-appointed lawyer.

Richard Peters, who represented the alleged killer during the hearing, told AFP the 28-year-old ‘wants to be self-represented in this case’.

Hundreds off students and staff from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch gathered today to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attack

Hundreds off students and staff from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch gathered today to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attack

Hundreds off students and staff from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch gathered today to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attack

Students held candles as they observed a moment of silence to commemorate victims of the Christchurch terror attack

Students held candles as they observed a moment of silence to commemorate victims of the Christchurch terror attack

Students held candles as they observed a moment of silence to commemorate victims of the Christchurch terror attack

Heartbroken students linked arms as they supported one another during a vigil to remember those killed in the terror attacks

Heartbroken students linked arms as they supported one another during a vigil to remember those killed in the terror attacks

Heartbroken students linked arms as they supported one another during a vigil to remember those killed in the terror attacks

Two students embrace as they join a vigil to remember the 50 people killed in the devastating terror attacks on Friday

Two students embrace as they join a vigil to remember the 50 people killed in the devastating terror attacks on Friday

Two students embrace as they join a vigil to remember the 50 people killed in the devastating terror attacks on Friday

‘The way he presented was rational and someone who was not suffering any mental disability. He seemed to understand what was going on,’ Peters said.

Under New Zealand law, if Tarrant pleads not guilty his case would normally go to trial, raising the possibility that he could face survivors and victims’ families in court.

Mustafa Farouk, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, told reporters he had faith in the system.

‘As a community, we would like that person to go through the process, the due process, and to be given all his rights,’ he said.

‘We believe in the justice system here and we know it will do what is right.’

A police officer passes a candle to a schoolgirl during a students vigil near Al Noor mosque

A police officer passes a candle to a schoolgirl during a students vigil near Al Noor mosque

A police officer passes a candle to a schoolgirl during a students vigil near Al Noor mosque

Paying tribute: Youngsters offered prayers and lit candles as they gathered for a moment of silence outside the Al Noor mosque

Paying tribute: Youngsters offered prayers and lit candles as they gathered for a moment of silence outside the Al Noor mosque

Paying tribute: Youngsters offered prayers and lit candles as they gathered for a moment of silence outside the Al Noor mosque

Some played musical instruments, others lit candles and dozens sat in silence during the heartfelt vigil in Christchurch

Some played musical instruments, others lit candles and dozens sat in silence during the heartfelt vigil in Christchurch

Some played musical instruments, others lit candles and dozens sat in silence during the heartfelt vigil in Christchurch

Staff and students alike paused to reflect on the horrifying events that unfolded on Friday

Staff and students alike paused to reflect on the horrifying events that unfolded on Friday

Staff and students alike paused to reflect on the horrifying events that unfolded on Friday

Members of the public lay flowers and condolences near Linwood mosque in Christchurch - one of two mosques targeted on Friday

Members of the public lay flowers and condolences near Linwood mosque in Christchurch - one of two mosques targeted on Friday

Members of the public lay flowers and condolences near Linwood mosque in Christchurch – one of two mosques targeted on Friday

Floral tribute: Hundreds of bunches of flowers have been left at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand

Floral tribute: Hundreds of bunches of flowers have been left at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand

Floral tribute: Hundreds of bunches of flowers have been left at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand

Young people came together and supported one another as they paid tribute to those killed in the horrifying terror attack

Young people came together and supported one another as they paid tribute to those killed in the horrifying terror attack

Young people came together and supported one another as they paid tribute to those killed in the horrifying terror attack

Candes were lit and left on the ground during a vigil to remember the victims of the terror attack on Friday

Candes were lit and left on the ground during a vigil to remember the victims of the terror attack on Friday

Candes were lit and left on the ground during a vigil to remember the victims of the terror attack on Friday

A police officer places a candle among flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque

A police officer places a candle among flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque

A police officer places a candle among flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque

People place flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the Fridays terrorist attacks on two mosques that left at least 50 people dead

People place flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the Fridays terrorist attacks on two mosques that left at least 50 people dead

People place flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the Fridays terrorist attacks on two mosques that left at least 50 people dead

But, he cautioned, the attitudes that gave rise to the killing – documented in a rambling, racist screed released online minutes before the attacks began – must be tackled.

‘This rise in hatred… by people who call themselves right-wing, whether smaller groups or through reckless politicians, should not be allowed to continue.’ 

Frustrated families of the 50 victims were still waiting Monday for the release of the bodies of their loved ones, as officials worked their way through a painstaking investigation.

Dozens of graves were being dug in readiness for that release, which Police Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha said would hopefully happen soon.

High school students mourn the loss of two students at the Deans Ave vigil near the Al Noor Mosque, in Christchurch

High school students mourn the loss of two students at the Deans Ave vigil near the Al Noor Mosque, in Christchurch

High school students mourn the loss of two students at the Deans Ave vigil near the Al Noor Mosque, in Christchurch

People light a candle to leave with flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque

People light a candle to leave with flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque

People light a candle to leave with flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque

A young woman weeps during a students vigil near the mosque where people were shot and killed in Christchurch, New Zealand

A young woman weeps during a students vigil near the mosque where people were shot and killed in Christchurch, New Zealand

A young woman weeps during a students vigil near the mosque where people were shot and killed in Christchurch, New Zealand

Students write messages on a large tarpaulin during a vigil in Christchurch after the mass shooting

Students write messages on a large tarpaulin during a vigil in Christchurch after the mass shooting

Students write messages on a large tarpaulin during a vigil in Christchurch after the mass shooting

Students hold candles during a vigil in Christchurch on March 18, 2019, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city that claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers

Students hold candles during a vigil in Christchurch on March 18, 2019, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city that claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers

Students hold candles during a vigil in Christchurch on March 18, 2019, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city that claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers

School students attended a vigil in Christchurch on Monday, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city

School students attended a vigil in Christchurch on Monday, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city

School students attended a vigil in Christchurch on Monday, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city

A school student is pictured crying during the vigil in Christchurch to honour those who died in the shootings

A school student is pictured crying during the vigil in Christchurch to honour those who died in the shootings

A school student is pictured crying during the vigil in Christchurch to honour those who died in the shootings

Candles and hand-written messages are seen at a memorial site at the Botanical garden in Christchurch

Candles and hand-written messages are seen at a memorial site at the Botanical garden in Christchurch

Candles and hand-written messages are seen at a memorial site at the Botanical garden in Christchurch

A picture is left among flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque to pay tribute to those who died in the shooting attacks

A picture is left among flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque to pay tribute to those who died in the shooting attacks

A picture is left among flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque to pay tribute to those who died in the shooting attacks

‘The process has been highly emotional and stressful for all… as in accordance with Islamic faith the families have wanted the bodies to be returned as soon as possible,’ he said.

‘We have burial expert teams in place ready to receive the bodies at a point in time.’

The dead span generations, aged between three and 77, according to a list circulated among relatives.

Some victims came from the neighbourhood, others from as far afield as Egypt. At least two of the dead came from the same family – a father and son.

Students comfort each other during a vigil in Christchurch to show respect to those who were killed in the mosques shootings

Students comfort each other during a vigil in Christchurch to show respect to those who were killed in the mosques shootings

Students comfort each other during a vigil in Christchurch to show respect to those who were killed in the mosques shootings

Students attend a vigil in Christchurch on Monday three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city

Students attend a vigil in Christchurch on Monday three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city

Students attend a vigil in Christchurch on Monday three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city

Students embraced and hugged each other during the vigil held near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch

Students embraced and hugged each other during the vigil held near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch

Students embraced and hugged each other during the vigil held near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch

Young people held each other arm in arm during the remembrance for those who died in the shootings in Christchurch

Young people held each other arm in arm during the remembrance for those who died in the shootings in Christchurch

Young people held each other arm in arm during the remembrance for those who died in the shootings in Christchurch

Delhi said Sunday that five of its nationals were killed, while Pakistan said nine of its citizens were among the dead, including one man who died trying to rush Tarrant.

Authorities said 31 people remained in hospital, nine in critical condition.

Reigning Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders, who play in Christchurch, said Monday they would consider changing their name after criticism that it was historically insensitive.

Distinctive writing on the mosque attacker’s weaponry included the names of figures from the Crusades, the religious wars waged by European Christians against Muslims for control of the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. 

A child sits among flowers and candles left in tribute to the victims of two shootings at mosques in Christchurch

A child sits among flowers and candles left in tribute to the victims of two shootings at mosques in Christchurch

A child sits among flowers and candles left in tribute to the victims of two shootings at mosques in Christchurch

A New Zealand flag was placed near flowers and messages at the vigil held near Al Noor mosque in Christchurch after Friday's devastating shootings

A New Zealand flag was placed near flowers and messages at the vigil held near Al Noor mosque in Christchurch after Friday's devastating shootings

A New Zealand flag was placed near flowers and messages at the vigil held near Al Noor mosque in Christchurch after Friday’s devastating shootings

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