NZ PM Ardern meets with mosque leaders

Jacinda Ardern has flown to Christchurch to meet with leaders of mosques targeted in the shooting.
Jacinda Ardern has flown to Christchurch to meet with leaders of mosques targeted in the shooting.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has met with leaders of Christchurch mosques targeted in the mass shooting as she tries to assure the country's Muslim community they will be kept safe.

Ardern landed in the South Island city on Saturday following the killings of 49 worshippers gathering for prayers at two mosques on Friday.

"Security from the police will contuse at mosques throughout New Zealand until it seen there is no longer a threat," she said.

Going straight from her plane to a Christchurch's refugee centre, Ardern sat down in an intimate setting with members of the Muslim community, who both thanked the nation for an outpouring of support and asked what would happen next.

"We were not expecting that, but we are very, very grateful, we are blessed," mosque committee member Habib Ullah told the room.

"Is there any long-term plan for those who survived?"

Concerns are now turning to long-term security and what the killings will mean for a community where many of the dead were sole breadwinners for families.

"There will be questions about how we ensure people's livelihoods. How we ensure they meet day-to-day needs," Ardern said.

At Hagley College, just minutes from where 41 people were fatally shot at the Al Noor mosque, families of the victims greeted the prime minister.

There concerns were raised with bodies still remaining at the crime scenes, whether burial customs could be kept in line.

"Police are continuing to liaise directly with family members and are trying to do all they can to meet the expectations of all who are there this afternoon," Ardern said.

Accompanied by a contingent including the deputy prime minister and leader of the opposition, Ardern travelled under intense security on Saturday, with heavily-armed police on streets around the city.

Australian Associated Press