Christchurch Attacks: Al-Noor Mosque Reopens To Worshippers After Shooting
The building had closed so police could investigate the attack but on Saturday small groups were allowed to return.
Fifty people were killed in shootings at two mosques on 15 March.
As the Al Noor mosque reopened, some 3,000 people walked through Christchurch on Saturday for a ‘march for love’ intended to honour victims.
Many walked in silence and some carried placards calling for peace and opposing racism.
“We feel like hate has brought a lot of darkness at times,” said Manaia Butler, a 16-year-old student who helped to organise the march. “Love is the strongest cure to light the city out of that darkness,” she said.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old self-proclaimed white supremacist, has been charged with one murder in connection with the attacks and he is expected to face further charges.
Bullet holes gone, walls repainted
At around midday local time (23:00 GMT Friday), small groups of worshippers were allowed back onto the grounds, while armed police patrolled the site.
The mosque had been repaired, with bullet holes filled in and walls freshly painted – though the lack of rugs on the floor served as a reminder of what had happened.
Worshippers knelt to pray on a grey padded carpet underlay taped to the floor.
Police said the nearby Linwood mosque, which was the second to be attacked, had also reopened.
Victims of the shooting
Gun law reform
She said she expected new legislation to be in place by 11 April, saying: “Our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too.”
“Six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand,” Ms Ardern said in a news conference.
“Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.”
An amnesty has been imposed so the owners of affected weapons can hand them in, and a buy-back scheme will follow.
The buy-back could cost up to NZ$200m ($138m; £104m), but Ms Ardern said “that is the price that we must pay to ensure the safety of our communities”.
Ms Ardern has also announced that a National Memorial Service for victims is being planned for next week.