NZ announces drastic change to gun laws
NEW Zealanders owning newly banned guns will have to surrender them to police in a buyback scheme similar to the one Australia introduced after the Port Arthur massacre.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced sweeping changes to New Zealand's gun laws this afternoon.
All military-style weapons, all semi-automatic weapons and all devices that allow a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic or close to automatic gunfire will be banned effective immediately.
Ms Ardern said the buyback could cost the New Zealand government $200 million. She said changes to gun laws in New Zealand in 1983 and again in 1999, 2005 and 2012 "did not go far enough".
"What we are banning today are the things that were used in last Friday's attack," Ms Ardern said.
"We must make (changes) to prevent an act of terror happening in our country ever again."
The Prime Minister said she would look to Australia for guidance, while outlining new details about the weapons used by the man responsible for Friday's attack.
"The attacker on March 15 took a significant number of lives using primarily two weapons," she said.
"They were assault rifles and they were purchased legally on an A category gun licence - the standard licence held by gun owners in New Zealand.
"The capacity of these assault rifles was then enhanced using 30-plus round magazines, essentially turning them into military-style semi-automatic weapons.
"While the modification of these guns was illegal, it was done easily through a simple online purchase."
DAD'S HEARTBREAKING NOTE TO DEAD SON
A father has penned a beautiful and heartbreaking note to his teenage son who was buried this morning in front of hundreds of mourners at a Christchurch cemetery.
Sayyad Ahmad Milne, 14, is the second teenage victim of Friday's massacre to be buried in the last two days.
The Cashmere High School student who dreamed of playing professional football was the first person buried today after six victims were buried on Wednesday.
Mourners carried the teenager's shrouded body over their heads at the Memorial Park Cemetery in the city's east.
"We're all here to help each other," a man leading prayers said as classmates, dressed in the school blazer, comforted one another.
Sayyad's father penned an anguished note to his son ahead of the burial, calling him a "brave hunter lion" who "had to battle just to live right from the beginning".
"Sayyad Sayyad Sayyad ... Kind Caring Loving. Forgiving Forgetting Dreaming," his father wrote.
"My special little one who had to battle just to live right from the beginning. He was meant to be. Now their (sic) is a bigger hole in my heart than the one that bullet blew out of the exit point of it. He is a battler.
"He nearly died twice twice after his 30 hour birth. You should see how he hunts a ball as a goalkeeper. He has, is and will make a tiny mark on people's hearts. That's just the beginning of all that will be said of him.
"My little ice baby. Sayyad we love and miss you. Thank you for who you are."
NZ KILLER STALKED PEDESTRIANS FROM CAR
Disturbing new footage from the Christchurch terror attack shows the lone gunman stalking pedestrians on the footpath before getting their attention and firing at them.
The CCTV video footage is from a hotel a short walk from the Al Noor mosque where Brenton Tarrant is accused of shooting dead 42 people.
The footage shows a vehicle believed to be that driven by Tarrant on its way from the Al Noor mosque to the Linwood mosque where he would allegedly murder a further eight Muslims while they prayed.
The video, obtained by CNN, shows the vehicle approach pedestrians before the driver uses the car horn to get their attention. As they stop and turn, the shooter fires through the closed passenger side window as they dive into nearby shrubs.
Shattered glass is still on the side of the road where the bullets pierced the window.
In the video, the first shots from the Al Noor mosque are clearly audible, followed soon after by the sounds of sirens.
The distance between the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood mosque is roughly 13 minutes by car. After firing at pedestrians in the car park, the vehicle is seen driving at high speeds up Deans Avenue towards Linwood mosque.
The footage comes as police reveal the chilling words Christchurch gunman told the two officers who arrested him.
New Zealand Police Minister Stuart Nash said it was "extraordinary" Tarrant was caught by officers so quickly after the terrorist attack last Friday.
"We are talking about a big city ... to have the guy arrested either within 20 minutes or 35 minutes, I think is extraordinary," Mr Nash said.
Mr Nash also revealed more details around the man's arrest.
"These two guys pull this guy out but at the same time he was yelling, 'I've got a bomb' and shooting at the same time, so we overuse the word hero, but not in this case."
When asked if the officers would be receiving bravery awards, Mr Nash said he could not "pre-empt anything" but there "aren't too many more acts of bravery higher than that".
A 12-second video of the arrest showed Tarrant's car crashing onto the kerbside, flanked by a police car.
As the camera pans to the left, three police officers can be seen standing above the suspected shooter who lies on the footpath, and an officer drags him towards a second police car.
Tarrant appeared to be wearing dark coloured cargo pants, an ammunition vest and a helmet.
The officer can then be seen rolling Tarrant on to his front, while his hands are handcuffed behind his back.
The camera then pans again and two officers are seen running along the road.
The officers could be seen pointing their firearms inside the open front passenger door and dragging Tarrant from the car. They then tussle with him on the sidewalk.
The timeline of events for Friday's attacks which killed 50 people and wounded another 50 was about 40 minutes.
The accused gunman was arrested by two officers on Brougham St, following the shootings at both the Deans Ave and Linwood mosques.
The two officers, who had just come from a training session, rammed his car off the road in order to stop him.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said this was "absolutely an international investigation".
It involved New Zealand police, the FBI, Australian police, and Five Eyes partners.
Bush confirmed there was one attacker.
"A focus [of the investigation] is to figure out if anyone else was supporting him in any way."
At the accused gunman's next court appearance, at the High Court on April 5, there would "undoubtedly be more charges", Bush said.
"We are working towards, as you can imagine, a considerable number of the most serious charges."
Police had now formally identified 21 victims and their bodies would be released to their families.
While for police the number one priority was victims and families, on behalf of the Chief Coroner it was to ensure absolute accuracy in the identification process.
The other responsibility was prosecution. "We must prove the cause of death to the satisfaction of coroner and judge. You cannot convict for murder without that cause of death."
HOW SURGEON SAVED SMALL CHILD
A Muslim surgeon who operated on a little girl shot in the Christchurch mosque massacre has described the heartwrenching moment he was brought to tears.
Vascular surgeon Adib Khanafer, who is also a father of four children aged 7-14, told reporters he was in an elective case at Christchurch Hospital when he received a call saying he was urgently needed in another theatre. When he arrived he was confronted with an image he'll never forget - a four-year-old girl with gunshot injuries who was fighting for her life.
Alin Alsati, who turns 5 next month, was praying with her father when she was shot up to three times in Friday's massacre that killed 50 people at two Chirstchurch mosques.
"It was really sad to see a young girl on the table," Dr Khanafer said, breaking down in tears.
"The bullet has really hit an area in the vein, which is really very difficult to repair ... the bullet has damaged the pelvis and lower arteries have been cut."
Dr Khanafer said he "imagined it was one of (his) kids".
"It could have been my boy, it could have been my girl," he said.
"I coped... I was able to perform my job and I left my emotions for after... after I've repaired her.
"I stepped out of theatre and started crying."
He completed surgery on the child and she remains in a critical condition. Dr Khanafer said he was "extremely optimistic" about her chances of recovery.
"I've been speaking with Auckland surgeons and she's critical but I'm optimistic, I think she's going to come out," he said.
Dr Khanafer told reporters that helping her "was definitely the highlight of (his) career as a vascular surgeon".
The girl's father Wasseim Alsati was also injured in Friday's attack. He was shot three times and underwent several surgeries.
In a video posted to Facebook on Saturday, Mr Alsati said he was very tired but thanked everyone for their kind messages of support.
"I was in a lot of pain after being shot 3 times," he wrote.
"Please pray for me and my daughter."
He is now in a serious, but stable, condition and has been transferred to Auckland to be with his daughter.
Twenty-nine people remain in Christchurch Hospital, eight of whom are in a critical condition.
MOSQUES TO REOPEN
It was the scene of unprecedented violence and where a "river of blood" flowed out the doors - but Christchurch's Masjid Al Noor is set to reopen tomorrow.
A week on from the attacks that shocked the world, the mosque where 42 people were gunned down could reopen just seven days after the shooting attack that became New Zealand's worst mass killing and terrorist attack.
In a heart warming display, Christchurch businesses have pulled together to get the mosque ready to reopen so worshippers can return on Friday.
Police and forensic teams left on Tuesday and since then builders, painters and carpet layers have been working around the clock to get the mosque ready so the Muslim community can return, Stuff reports.
Friday is a scared day for Muslims and is time the community unites - which is why it was full last Friday afternoon when accused gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28, allegedly burst in and started firing.
It's believed most of the tradies and companies involved in the clean up have donated their time.
"It's not about our business, it's about trying to restore some normality back into the town. To help is a really good feeling," a businessman told Stuff.
The second mosque involved during Friday's attack, Linwood Mosque, is also likely to reopen. Armed officers would be on site to provide reassurance, a police spokesman said.
Anwar Alsaleh, 65, who narrowly escaped death last week told the Washington Post he wasn't afraid to return and was "lucky to be alive".
The mosque's religious leader Imam Gamal Fouda, who survived New Zealand's worst ever terror attack, said the move will show the world that Muslims, and all New Zealanders, will not bow down to terror.
"We are going to prayer here on Friday," Mr Fouda said on Wednesday, speaking to the New Zealand Herald at the cordon across the road from the mass murder scene.
"The majority of people, including myself, we decided to come and prayer close to our site. We will never forsake it to please those people who actually attacked us."
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed there will be two minutes' silence on Friday to mark the lives lost in the Christchurch terror attack.
The call to prayer will also be broadcast on state broadcasters Radio NZ and TVNZ.
So far 30 of the 50 victims bodies have been returned to their families. Some families are upset at the delay, and Ms Ardern said she shared their concern.
That had nothing to do with a lack of resources, she said, but the complex process of identification. Dozens of other worshippers, mostly men but also including women and children, were injured in the attacks.