Mayor Lianne Dalziel has expressed her shock at the tragedy that has unfolded in Christchurch and offered the city’s full support to all the victims and their families.
“Our city has changed forever today. It is beyond belief that something like this should happen in our city and in New Zealand,'' the Mayor says.
“Christchurch is a city that welcomes people from all cultures, religions and backgrounds and it breaks my heart to see this happen in our city.
“It is clear that an extremist moved here with the intention of carrying out a premeditated attack. The fact so many of our residents died is just devastating.
“We are all shocked and saddened by today’s events and our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
“This tragedy will touch all of us. No one will be unaffected. We will all need to pull together and support each through the coming days and weeks as we come to terms with the immense loss that our city has experienced.
“As a city we have faced more than our fair share of tragedy and adversity in the past few years. We will not be bowed by hatred and division. We will stand united in our grief and we will work together to create a welcoming, safe environment for everyone.
“I want to thank the Police, the first responders and all those who cared for the victims of today’s shootings. We will forever be grateful for their bravery and commitment in the face of such a violent act.
“I urge you all to look out for each other as we come to terms with the reality and enormity of what has happened in our city. Now is the time for tolerance and understanding,’’ the Mayor says.