Thousands attend New Zealand vigil to honour 50 mosque dead

The Muslim in New Zealand call to prayer rang out over Christchurch and around New Zealand on Friday, as thousands gathered to remember the 50 people killed by a lone gunman at two mosques a week ago.

Fifty people were killed in the March 15 attack on Christchurch's Masjid al Noor and Linwood Masjid when a lone gunman opened fire during Friday prayers.

Ardern said on Sunday that a national remembrance service would be held on March 29 to honor the victims, most of whom were migrants or refugees.

Ms Ardern was asked about her decision to don a black headscarf as she comforted victims" families - an image that has since become "iconic'.

During a media briefing Monday, Ardern said that while New Zealand and Muslim communities around the world were still grieving they were also asking how the terror attack on March 15 when 50 people were killed was able to occur.

She said a major focus of the inquiry would be whether security agencies focused their attention on the right issues and whether there were any clues that were missed.

Saudi King Salman said, "The heinous massacre of the safe worshipers of mosques in New Zealand is a terrorist act and underlines the responsibility of the worldwide community to confront the rhetoric of hatred and terrorism, which is not recognised by religions or values of coexistence among peoples".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that it would hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry, the country's highest form of investigation.

'The values of tolerance and inclusion and peace - those are New Zealand values.

Ms Ardern has repeatedly played down the Huawei spat and did not directly address it on Monday.

It would also include the role of social media and the suspect's ability to obtain a weapon, Ardern said.

Waleed Aly delivered a moving message on the Christchurch attacks. She admitted that it took some time for her to process that and she believes New Zealanders are reflecting on the fact that "it was not one of us" in part because it helps them process what has happened.

"There are moments where there aren't cameras and I've just been with families and its fair to say that those are very emotional moments".

"But they do not point it out as an attempt to blame".

  • Tracy Klein