The Christchurch terror attack sent shockwaves through the city. Those waves crashed down and then rippled across our communities, our country and then across the world. Fifty people died, and in their wake hundreds of thousands of their brothers and sisters were affected.
people lost their lives in the mosque shootings
were young men or boys
They left behind ...
On the day after a terrorist attack against two mosques, there was supposed to be a cricket match.
For one of the teams involved, formed by the Afghan Association, it was their first year in existence, and they had made the semi-final.
Then the shootings happened. Four team members were in the Masjid Al-Noor, and all survived. One, however, lost his father, Matiullah Safi.
The semi-final, like many other sports events, was postponed one week while the city remained in shock.
By the following Saturday, the team was still not ready to play. Their community was in mourning. They were going to default.
Instead, members of a lower grade, Twenty-20 team formed a side to play on behalf of the Afghan team.
The makeshift side, some of whom had never played one day cricket before, won, sending the Afghans to the final.
A week later, the Afghan side still wasn’t ready. Family and friends had flown in from Afghanistan to support the close-knit Afghan community, which had lost two members, and it felt inappropriate to play cricket.
Once again, the makeshift side assembled to play the final. They looked set to lose: With their last two batsmen at the crease, they needed 48 runs.
They did it. On the last ball, they won the match - in their first year, the Afghan cricket team won the competition.
Sometimes you feel a bit helpless when something as large a scale as that [happens] and there’s not a hell of a lot you can do,” club captain David Stack says.
“This is one way that the guys could help out.”
While the semi-final took place, another cricket match took place between Riccarton and Sumner, on the other side of the city.
The Riccarton team, unusually, had 14 players: So many wanted to honour their teammate they had to make an exception.
“They could have filled it three or four times over from people wanting to play to acknowledge Junaid," says the club’s secretary, Tim Murdoch.
Junaid Ismail was killed at the Masjid Al Noor. He had lived in Christchurch his whole life, and ran the Springs Road Dairy.
The dairy has become a focal point for grief in the community. It has been plastered with flowers, cards and messages of support.
Days after the massacre, regulars came in to support the family. Some had known Ismail and his twin brother, Zahid, since they were boys.
For the past month, every day, rain or shine, one man has sat outside the dairy looking after the flowers.
He is Ismail’s father-in-law, who arrived from India to support his recently widowed daughter and her three young children. The dairy itself is being run by Ismail’s family. His mother, Sara, was holding the fort alone on Friday.
“We’ve had ups and downs,” she says, about life since her son was killed.
“It’s been a wonderful response from the community. They’ve been very supportive.”
If the attacks were like a stone dropped in water, casting ripples across the country and around the world, the waves were biggest at the point of impact.
The 50 victims, combined, left behind 33 spouses, 90 children, and more than 100 siblings, according to a Stuff analysis.
Many of the victims had large families, spanning multiple continents, comprising nieces and nephews, uncles and aunties, grandparents and cousins. Among the dead were citizens of more than a dozen nations, countries as diverse as Malaysia, Syria, and Mauritius.
Twenty seven victims were New Zealand citizens, and had forged vast and complex lives here as business owners, members of sports teams and community groups, as neighbours and colleagues and teachers and friends.
Four families lost multiple family members at once.
Mariam Gul, who lives in Pakistan, lost her brother and both of her parents at the Linwood Masjid: Her entire immediate family.
"At first I was very sad – I was crying,” she says from her home in Karachi.
“In our religion when somebody dies in such a manner they are supposed to be in paradise. This has given me courage that they are in a good place right now.”
Another person who lost multiple family members was Ambreen Naeem, also from Pakistan, but who lives in New Zealand.
The death of her husband, Naeem Rashid, and eldest son, Talha, has left a colossal void in her life.
“I had a big loss,” she says.
“My husband and my son ... It's a big loss. I'm trying to be as strong as possible.
“Bringing [my sons] back to their normal life is what I'm doing. I'm just controlling my feelings and helping them, too."
Every victim had at least one immediate family member, but most had many more.
The median age of the victims was 45, a stage of life where one may have a young family.
Of the 90 children of victims, at least 31 were under the age of 18. The youngest was one week old, her dad was praying for her health when he was killed.
Another child is yet to be born, but has already lost its father.
Brothers and sisters of the community
Christchurch is still reeling from the attack, mayor Lianne Dalziel says. People are “in a state of disbelief” that the shooting happened in their city.
“The impact of the tragedy has been enormous, largely because no-one would ever have thought this would happen here. We were chosen for this reason – to cause shockwaves nationally and internationally – because we are a safe city in a safe country.”
Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch
Many Muslim community members she has spoken to have told her how much the outpouring of love, compassion and kindness has meant to them.
The specific nature of the attack on the Muslim community created many more victims throughout Christchurch and New Zealand.
One in every 100 people in New Zealand identify as Muslim, most of whom were born overseas.
Many of New Zealand’s Muslims are close-knit, and many would have known those directly affected.
Zayd Blissett, Muslim Association of Marlborough chairman
“It was devastating for us,” says Muslim Association of Marlborough chairman Zayd Blissett, who knew 11 of the victims.
“These people are not related, but they are our brothers and sisters. It’s like it happened to my own family.”
Dr Wajid Hussain was affected deeply by what happened in Christchurch. He lost his good friend Naeem Rashid.
Across the community, everyone was affected differently, he says. “The grief is huge. You can not magnify it … it’s unlimited grief.”
That grief was etched on all of the faces of Christchurch people, who were humble and sympathetic to the Muslim community. And that grief will not fade away quickly, “it will take time,” he says.
Because many of the victims were born overseas, many had vast family networks around the world.
Vigils were held across the world, many attended by people who had known one of the dead; from the cold of Nova Scotia in Canada, to a remote village in Bangladesh, to a church in Suva, Fiji.
School and sport
Quantifying the scale of the loss is impossible. Some victims alone left a crater sized hole behind.
One of them was Atta Elyyan, an unusually talented tech entrepreneur, futsal goalkeeper, and even once a semi-professional Counter Strike (a popular video game) player.
The tributes for Elyyan came in thick and fast.
His teammates wept at the cordon, where flowers had been placed honouring the dead. Two weeks after the shooting, they awarded Elyyan the “Player’s Player” award at their annual prize giving.
A few days after his death, Elyyan’s friend, emerging soccer star Elliot Collier, scored his first ever goal in the American Major League Soccer competition.
He was wearing a black armband, and says he knew he would score that day.
“It wasn’t about me, or my team, it was just a feeling,” he wrote in an open letter to Elyyan.
“I think maybe it was about you, and the others we lost that day. Maybe it was a way of saying goodbye. Of celebrating together one last time.”
Elyyan was also a mentor. The day before he died, he was with the Christchurch Boys’ High School futsal side, which he was coaching.
He had gone to the school himself, and it was there he developed his love for football. A childhood friend says they would kick a football around on the concrete, using their school bags as goal posts.
They had been preparing for the national secondary schools futsal competition a week later, in Wellington.
Sayyad Milne was the second youngest victim. He bore a resemblance to Elyyan, in some way, despite being unrelated. He too was a talented goalkeeper, and one day dreamed of playing for Manchester United.
He, too, was meant to be at the futsal tournament in Wellington, until his life was cut short.
Before he joined his school’s football team, Milne had played for the St Albans Shirley football club’s 12th grade side.
“[H]e proved himself to be not only a truly outstanding goalkeeper, but a great friend and colleague, a real team player with a fabulous attitude and a warm and friendly personality,” the club said in a statement.
Sayyad’s name meant “lion,” his dad, John Milne, said at his son’s funeral.
“You should see how he hunts a ball as a goalkeeper,” he said, according to the NZ Herald.
“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.”
Sayyad was one of two Cashmere High School students killed.
The other was Hamza Mustafa, who had turned 16 two days before his death.
He was at the Masjid Al Noor with his younger brother, Zaid, his dad, Khaled, and his mother, Salwa. Only Salwa and Zaid survived.
The Mustafas had come to New Zealand from Syria, escaping the civil war. They are Circassians, an ethnic group originally from an area near the Black Sea, who were driven out of their homeland by Russia in the 19th century.
Like many diasporas, there are tight bonds within the Circassian community, even when they may be physically separated.
As news of the attacks spread around the world, a Circassian woman living in New Jersey feared for her childhood friend.
It was Salway Tsay, Hamza’s mother. The tight-knit Circassian community in New Jersey knew the family involved in a massacre on the other side of the world.
"When I found out a few hours later it was a Circassian and one we all knew, let’s just say the world starts shrinking around you" Zack Barsik, president of a New Jersey Circassian group told the North Jersey Record.
Several Circassians flew to New Zealand to support Tsay, who had suddenly lost a husband and a son.
There were other similarly small global communities disproportionately affected by the attacks.
Three of the victims were from Fiji, two of whom lived there.
One of those victims, Musa Patel, was a respected imam in Fiji, who was visiting New Zealand with his wife.
Patel was well known in the Fijian community - he had been a marriage celebrant, and was a radio personality for many years. Thousands attended his funeral in Auckland, so many they spilled out of the botanic gardens, where it took place.
Another six of the victims were of Palestinian descent, a devastating blow to a fragmented but close international community. Because Palestinians can not have officially recognised citizenship of their own state, they often struggle to travel, meaning they went to great lengths to get to New Zealand.
One of them was Osama Abu Kwaik, who was born in Gaza and was applying to become a New Zealand citizen, after spending his last dollar to bring his family here. His youngest child had been born in New Zealand, he would be the first in three generations not to be a refugee.
“He was truly one of a kind,” his brother, Youssef, says.
“He was always praying. Always doing the right thing. Always helpful to others. He never cared about politics, but always cared about people.”
With an already small Muslim community in Christchurch, the loss of 50 brothers and sisters had a profound impact.
There are around 350 Somalis in Christchurch, and many were attending Friday prayers on March 15.
Three of those killed were Somalis; one of them was Mucaad Ibrahim, 3, the youngest killed in the massacre. Three more Somalis were injured.
“We are always together,” says Mohamed Jama, a member of the Christchurch Somali community and former president of the Masjid Al Noor.
Beyond families and friends, the victims made connections through their work.
Many of the victims were highly skilled, and had forged strong professional ties in their respective industries.
At least 10 of the victims were engineers, practicing in a range of disciplines, including civil, mechanical, electrical and software engineering.
“This has an impact not only on their whānau but also their friends, colleagues and clients, everyone who knows and cares about them,” says Paul Evans, chief executive of ACENZ, the representative body for engineers.
Some had been business owners, well known among their customers, like Junaid Ismail.
Ashraf El-Moursy Ragheb, originally from Egypt, ran a souvlaki shop. He was fond of animals, and would feed stray cats at the back of the shop. Ahmed Gamaluddin Abdel-Ghany also immigrated from Egypt and ran a souvlaki shop. He also had a food truck called Egyptian Donuts, often seen in Cathedral Square on Fridays.
Several of the victims had been teachers, who would have interacted with many students.
Among them were Naeem Rashid and Dr Haroon Mahmood, both of whom were business tutors at private education colleges in Christchurch. Unsurprisingly, the two men were themselves good friends.
Some of the more recent immigrants to Christchurch moved there to escape the violence overseas. “And then they come here - it’s heartbreaking,” Zayd Blissett says. Those killed were “just regular guys,” with a range of good professions between them.
One month on
A month has now passed. Tears still flow in Wajid Hussain’s eyes when his thinks about his friend Naeem Rashid. Naeem’s 21-year-old son Talha was set to be married in June. There are scenes that will stay in his mind for a long, long time, he says.
Although sorrow, grief and pain still lingers for many, strength, courage, and love thrives in Christchurch.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she is proud of the way the community came together. “This atrocity, inspired by hatred, was designed to divide us. Instead it has united us as a city and a nation.”
Volunteers are still offering to help from all around the city - whether it was driving someone to appointments, cooking meals, or helping get children to and from school. “It’s a genuine commitment to embrace our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
‘We are one’ was a notion that swept like a wave across the country. In the aftermath of the shooting, New Zealanders echoed the words by not just etching it on cards, signs and tributes, but by standing together in solidarity, donning hijabs and welcoming Muslims into their homes and lives.
“We’re all brothers and sisters,” Zayd Blissett says. “Some Muslims around the world forget that, but anyway, it’s still very much alive here in New Zealand.”
Those we lost
Haji Mohemmed Daoud Nabi, 71.
New Zealand & Afghanistan
Nabi was a talented man, a beloved father and grandfather who had come to Christchurch from Afghanistan 40 years before his death.
He was a humble man who helped many in the community.
“He was always giving something away, whether it was his time and advice, or sharing food,” his friend, Shamin Homayn, said.
“And he saw humankind as one.”
Nabi is survived by his wife, four sons and one daughter.
Khaled Mwafak Alhaj-Mustafa, 44
Mustafa and his family had come to New Zealand in 2018, fleeing from the civil war in Syria.
The family are members of the Circassian community, a people who originated from the area around the Black Sea in eastern Europe.
He loved animals, particularly horses. He worked as a farrier and was known for his sensitive and gentle nature.
He was killed at the Masjid Al Noor alongside his 16-year-old son, Hamza. Another son, Zaid, was injured but survived.
Atta Mohammad Ata Elayyan, 33
Elayyan was a man of many talents. He was a star goalkeeper for the national futsal team and an emerging tech leader.
Tributes flooded in for Elayyan following his death: He was known for his beaming smile, his friendliness, and his passion.
“You met me with a smile, introduced me to the group, and made me feel welcome,” said football player Elliot Collier, about the first time he met Elayyan.
“Most people don't do that, Atta. It takes someone rare to treat people with that kind of empathy. But that's who you were. You were just being you.”
He is survived by his two-year-old daughter, Aya, and wife Farah.
Junaid Ismail, 36
Ismail was born and raised in New Zealand.
He ran the Springs Road Dairy in Hornby. Locals flooded to the dairy to show their support, leaving flowers and messages.
He was also a long-standing member of the Riccarton cricket club.
"You couldn't find a more softly spoken, shy, beautiful personality," Ismail's cousin, Javed Dadabhai, said.
Mohammed Imran Khan, 46
From Hyderabad, India, Khan was known as Imran Bhai to family and friends.
He was a hard worker with three businesses, including the Indian Grill restaurant and takeaway in Hills Rd, the recently opened Makkah halal butchery, also in Hills Rd, and a cafe in St Albans, run by his wife.
"I used to think, 'how can he do this much by himself', opening his store, managing staff,” said his cousin, Mohammed Mubashir Khan.
“When I saw it I thought, 'oh, he actually did it'. I admired him.”
Khan is survived by his wife and a 15-year-old son.
Husna Ahmed, 44
Originally from Bangladesh, Ahmed ushered women and children in the Masjid Al Noor, before she was killed while returning to check on her husband.
Her husband, Farid Ahmed, said his wife was a "very courageous and caring" person.
"We worked as a team, we were extremely happy."
She is survived by her husband and their 15-year-old daughter, Shifa.
Naeem Rashid, 51
Rashid will be remembered as one of the heroes of the Masjid Al Noor. He rushed the gunman and tried to wrest the gun from him. He died in Christchurch Hospital.
His son Talha, 21, was also killed at the mosque.
Originally from the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, he worked in banking and moved to New Zealand several years ago to settle in Christchurch. He worked as a teacher and more recently for the Kiwi Institute of Training and Education.
"He was always helping people and he loved everyone,” his wife, Ambreen Naeem, said.
“He was an open-hearted man, he was compassionate.”
Rashid is survived by his wife and their two sons.
From Jordan, Darwish immigrated to New Zealand about six months ago and worked on a dairy farm in Ashburton.
He was encouraged to come to New Zealand by his brother, Zuhair, and left his family in Jordan with the idea they would join him later. They had applied for a visa to move to New Zealand.
“He was very honest and caring,” Zuhair said.
Their mother, Suad Adwan, died of a heart attack shortly after her son’s burial.
Darwish is survived by his wife, Rana, and their three children.
Ansi Karippakulam Alibava, 25
Alibava came to New Zealand to pursue a Master of Agribusiness Management at Lincoln University. She recently completed her degree and was preparing for her graduation ceremony in May.
She was married to Abdul Nazer Ponnath Hamsa and worked part-time as an intern at Lincoln Agritech and at Kmart Riccarton.
"The life Ansi and I had together, the plans we made, the family we hoped to build here, all vanished in a moment of senseless anti-immigrant rage," Ponnath Hamsa said.
Alibava was from the southern Indian state of Kerala. She was outside the Masjid Al Noor.
Friends said she was bubbly and loveable.
Amjad Kaseem Hamid, 57
Hamid was a senior medical officer and rural hospital consultant at Hawera Hospital, and had previously worked as a senior doctor with the Canterbury DHB.
He had come to Christchurch from Qatar in 1995, and had lived there ever since, even after gaining a job in Taranaki.
"He was hard working, down to earth, passionate. He was a good husband and a good father. He loved and respected everybody," his wife, Hanan, said.
His colleagues said he was well liked for his kindness, compassion and his sense of humour. He was a hard working doctor, deeply committed to caring for his patients, and a thoughtful team member who was supportive of all staff.
Hamza Khaled Alhaj Mustafa, 16
Hamza came to Christchurch with his family from Syria this year.
He was a student at Cashmere High School, and a passionate horse rider, well known in the equestrian community.
"Everyone loved Hamza, very caring, very polite,” his mother, Salwa Tsay, said.
“He was the most wonderful boy… Everything good that you can imagine in this world was in my Hamza.”
He died alongside his father, Khaled. His brother, Zaid, survived.
Mucaad Ibrahim, 3
Ibrahim, whose family is from Somalia, was with his father and brother at the Masjid Al Noor in Deans Ave when the shooting began.
He was a clever boy, who could already read sections of the Quran. He loved his dad and his brothers, and enjoyed being in the Masjid. Every Friday night, he would watch his family play football at Hagley Park.
He was "energetic, playful and liked to smile and laugh a lot," his brother, Abdi, said.
The three-year-old was born in Christchurch and a New Zealand citizen.
Osama Adnan Youssef Abu Kwaik, 37
Born in Gaza, Kwaik was raised in Egypt as the son of refugees. He was a civil engineer who studied at the American University in Cairo, before moving to Christchurch in 2017 with his wife and two children.
While in Christchurch, he had another child, who is a New Zealand citizen. His brother, Youssef, who lives in California, described Osama as a kind and decent man who loved his family and his adopted city of Christchurch.
“I had never seen my brother happier, and I was grateful for New Zealand bringing joy to my beloved brother.
“He bought a car and got his driver’s licence. He had a new baby, an all New Zealand-born boy, who is not a refugee. This is how his life was before it ended.”
Abu Kwaik is survived by his wife and their three children.
Tariq Rashid Omar, 24
Omar was a football coach, who had most recently coached an under-9s team.
He grew up in Christchurch, and was a student at Cashmere High School before studying geology at the University of Canterbury.
He was close to his family, particularly his three siblings.
“When the four of us were together we’d always be crying with laughter at some point," his sister, Qariah, said.
Omar died at the Masjid Al Noor.
Ghulam Hussain, 66
Hussain and his wife, Karam Bibi, came to New Zealand to visit their son in February.
All three died together at the Linwood Masjid.
Their daughter, Mariam Gul, said her parents had been enjoying their time in New Zealand immensely.
She described her father as a "pious and virtuous" man who was a "true gentleman".
"I don't have words to praise his love for almighty God and his creatures."
Hussein Mohammed Khalil Moustafa, 70
Egypt & New Zealand
Moustafa came to New Zealand from Egypt with his family in the 1990s.
He volunteered at the Masjid Al Noor, where he built a library and community garden on the grounds.
"He always had a smile on his face,” his son, Mohamed, said.
“I try to think hard about a time when he was angry and I struggle."
He is survived by his wife, Zahra, and their three children.
Talha Naeem, 21
Naeem was a regular at the Masjid Al Noor, and would often ride his bike there.
One witness of the shooting said when Naeem was shot, he fell on top of another worshipper, using his last words to urge them to stay still.
Naeem had just earned a job as an engineer, and was providing for his mother and his two brothers.
"He was the person who was very helpful, said his mother, Ambreen.
"All his friends, everyone, said he was always telling them to be positive, and to do the right thing."
His father, Naeem Rashid, was also killed in the mosque.
Linda Susan Armstrong, 64
Armstrong grew up in West Auckland and recently moved to Christchurch to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren.
She befriended many travellers, immigrants and refugees, opening her home, her heart and her kitchen. Her family said she loved showing parts of New Zealand to visitors or immigrants and helping them to settle into their new home.
"She was a mentor for many Islamic women and would mediate between disagreeing parties,” her brother, Tony Gosse, said.
“She always had an open ear and a shoulder to lean on."
Sayyad Ahmad Milne, 14
Milne grew up in Corsair Bay, near Lyttelton and went to Cashmere High School.
He was a skilled football goalkeeper, and dreamed of playing internationally one day.
His half sister, Brydie Henry, described him as a good-natured, sporty teenager who loved football.
His sister, Cahaya, said: "He was a loving and kind brother and will be greatly missed."
Ashraf Ali, 61
Fiji & New Zealand
Ali moved to New Zealand 17 years ago from Fiji. His daughter, Zeba Ali, said the father of two last worked as a slaughterman at Brinks Chicken preparing halal chicken.
Ashraf was devout and never missed prayers at the Masjid Al Noor, she said.
“That was like his second home . . . he adored going there actually, nothing would stop him going.”
She described her father as “a very kind, and very giving man”.
“He wouldn’t have hatred in his heart to say anything bad about anyone.”
He was buried alongside several of his friends.
Hussein Al-Umari, 35
Iraq & New Zealand
Al-Umari’s family moved to New Zealand 22 years ago and he worked for V-Base and in the travel industry.
His mother, Janna Ezat, said her son was full of life and always put the needs of others before his own.
He was an exercise enthusiast who loved taking long walks, sometimes several times a day. He also loved to travel.
Abdelfattah Qasem, 60
Jordan & New Zealand
Qasem, originally from Palestine, was the Muslim Association of Canterbury's former secretary. He was an IT specialist who worked in Kuwait for much of his life.
His family moved to New Zealand in the early 1990s after the first Gulf War, seeking a more secure place.
He was excited to visit his first grandchild in Melbourne, due in May.
“He loves helping people,” his wife, Siham, said.
"He is very kind and he always smiles. Cheeky, and handsome. He is very polite."
He is survived by his wife and their three daughters.
Lilik Abdul Hamid, 57
Originally from Medan, Indonesia, Hamid moved to Christchurch permanently in 2003 to work as an aircraft engineer at Air New Zealand.
A family friend said Hamid was a kind- hearted man, willing to help others whatever their nationality or religion.
“He was like a father or a go-to person for most Indonesian people in Christchurch and I believe all Indonesians in NZ know him as well.”
He worshipped regularly at the Masjid Al Noor were he was killed. He is survived by his wife, Nina, and their two children.
MD Mojammel Hoq, 30
Hoq had been in Christchurch for more than three years and worked in health care.
He planned to return home to Bangladesh in September to marry his girlfriend, start a family and open a dental clinic for the less fortunate.
"He was such a nice human being,” said his cousin, Abdul Hai.
“He was humble and competent. He always appreciated all kinds of people ... [this has] left a big hole in our hearts."
Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi, 17
Mohd-Tarmizi moved to New Zealand with his family about 18 months ago. He died at the Masjid Al Noor, where his father Mohd Tarmizi Shuib was also injured. His mother and younger brother escaped the gunfire.
He was in Year 12 at Burnside High School, and was a bright student.
“[He was] a great young man who had the respect of his mates and teachers,” principal Phil Holstein said.
“Conscientious, self-motivated and just wanted to do well. Teachers have noted that he has grown in confidence in the short time he has been here. He was ready, as one teacher said, to flourish.”
Patel, the former Imam of the Lautoka Jame Masjid in Fiji, was visiting Christchurch to see his son and was killed at the Masjid in Linwood.
Relatives said Patel was "a national icon, a recognisable face". Thousands of people attended his funeral in Auckland.
"Musa was a highly respected member of the Fiji Muslim League and served selflessly as a Imam, teacher, mentor and was much sought after as a powerful orator and speaker," said Hafizud Khan, president of the Fiji Muslim League.
Musa's wife Saira Bibi Patel was sitting near her husband at the mosque when the gunman opened fire but escaped uninjured.
He is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons.
Muhammad Suhail Shahid, 36
Suhail was an engineer from Pakistan working as a production manager at resin manufacturer Hexion, in Christchurch.
He moved to New Zealand in 2017 and lived in Auckland for a year before moving to Christchurch with his wife, Asma, and two young daughters, aged 2 and 5.
His wife said Shahid was a “very kind-hearted, smart and loving person. His daughters were his life”.
He was praying at the Masjid Al Noor when he was killed.
Haroon Mahmood, 40
Mahmood worked in banking in Pakistan and tutored in economics and statistics at Lincoln University between 2014 and 2016.
He also lectured in business at Linguis International in Christchurch from 2014 until April 2017, and joined Canterbury College in May 2017.
His family said they would remember his smile, warmth, humour, respect and dedication.
Mahmood is survived by his wife and two children, aged 13 and 11.
Karam Bibi, 63
Bibi had come to New Zealand with her husband, Ghulam Hussain, to see their son, Zeeshan Raza.
All three were killed at the Linwood Masjid.
Her daughter, Mariam Gul, said her mother was a “disciplined and organised lady”.
"She was a source of courage and patience in our family."
Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi, 63
Originally from Saudi Arabia, Al Harbi lived in New Zealand for 25 years and worked in water desalination.
His son, Feras, said his father was a part-time imam, who sometimes gave the Friday sermon. Mohsen’s wife Manal searched for her husband in the chaos and had a heart attack, needing hospital treatment.
Al Harbi had terminal cancer.
“He was a warm-hearted person who respected people of all races and all religions,” Feras said.
“His character was a simple one, but nevertheless he was well educated and well read. A linguist, he spoke Arabic, English, Greek, German and Hebrew. He devoured books, especially about the history of different civilisations.”
He is survived by his wife and five children.
Abdukadir Elmi, 65
Known as the Sheikh, Elmi was a well known figure in the Christchurch Muslim community.
He survived the civil war in Somalia, and came to New Zealand around 10 years ago with his family.
He was “a giant in the community” and among “the most recognisable faces in the mosque,” his son, Said Elmi, said in a tribute on Facebook.
“Kids would run to grab his chair when they heard the noise of his cane hitting against the ground upon his entrance,” he wrote.
“He was loved for his generosity and his fundraising efforts.
Abdukadir is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, five sons and four daughters. He died at Masjid Al Noor.
Muhammed Abdus Samad, 66
Bangladesh & New Zealand
Samad grew up in a poor, remote village in northern Bangladesh.
He studied animal science in Bangladesh, later becoming a professor at the same university.
He had gained his PhD in Christchurch, and helped set up the Masjid Al Noor, where he was later killed.
His son Toaha Muhammad, who lives in Bangledesh, said the mosque was his father’s second home. He tried to go the mosque five times a day and his voice was often the first voice worshippers heard as they arrived.
Samad’s long-time friend, Shaju Shahjahan, described him as “brilliant, kind, religious and reserved”.
He is survived by his wife and their three sons.
Ali Mah’d Abdullah Elmadani, 66
Jordan & New Zealand
Elmadani was a Palestinian who moved to Christchurch from the United Arab Emirates in 1998.
He was a retired electrical engineer.
He valued strength and patience, his family said.
Ali Elmadani left behind a wife, one son, and three daughters.
Syed Jahandad Ali, 34
Ali, originally from Pakistan, worked as a senior dynamics developer at software company Intergen.
He had studied at NED Universtiy of Engineering and Technology in Karachi.
Ali was a family man, who moved to New Zealand because he thought it would be the perfect place to raise a family.
Ali had “deeply touched the lives of his friends, colleagues and wider technology community through his knowledge and skills,” Intergen said in a statement.
He is survived by his wife, Amna, and children, Meesha (4), Aisha (2) and Mohammad (6 months old).
Ramiz Arifbhai Vora, 28
Originally from Gujarat, India, Vora and his father Arif were killed in the attack on the Masjid Al Noor.
Vora had become a father only five days before the attack. He only had the chance to hold his daughter once, and he was praying for her health when he was killed.
"He was so happy, he was deciding the name of his daughter and helping his wife," Farheen Vahora, a family friend, said.
Vora worked at Tegel as a halal slaughterman and was described by friends as a “gentleman” who never missed prayers if he could help it.
Matiullah Safi, 55
Safi came to New Zealand from Afghanistan via India about nine years ago, and worked at various jobs.
He was a devout man and a regular at the Masjid Al Noor. He was well known in Christchurch’s small Afghani community.
Before coming to Christchurch, his brother had been killed in the war in Afghanistan.
He is survived by his wife, six sons and one daughter.
Ashraf El-Moursy Ragheb, 54
Egypt & New Zealand
Ragheb came to New Zealand from Cairo in the late 1990s.
He owned his own souvlaki shop for many years and more recently worked as an employee in a new souvlaki shop in Riccarton.
His family said he was a quiet man whose life was his work and home. He was fond of animals and each day fed a group of stray cats who called at the back of the souvlaki shop.
The family had been talking about getting a dog. Due to his hours of work, Ragheb was not a regular at the Masjid Al Noor where he was praying with his wife Seham when he was shot. Seham escaped uninjured.
He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.
Muhammad Zeeshan Raza, 38
Raza, a mechanical engineer, moved to New Zealand last year from Karachi. He lived in Auckland before moving to Christchurch for work in December.
Raza and his parents, Ghulam Hussain and Karam Bibi, were killed at the Linwood Masjid.
His younger sister, Mariam Gul, said she was very close to her older brother, who she described as a "cheerful person with a positive attitude" who always found a way to make her happy if she was upset.
"He called New Zealand a land of opportunities. He used to say it was like a paradise - a peaceful and beautiful place."
Farhaj Ahsan, 30
India & New Zealand
Ahsan moved to New Zealand from Hyderabad, India, in 2010 and obtained a masters degree.
He worked as a software engineer in Christchurch, and was a father,
“He is a very nice and sweet person,” his friend, Abdul Feroze, said.
“He was always helpful to his friends. It’s very sad that we lost such a charming guy.”
He is survived by his wife and their two children.
Ozair Kadir, 24
From Hyderabad, Kadir was a student pilot at the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand.
He had been in Christchurch for about a year, according to a member of the Indian community.
He wanted to become a commercial airline pilot, following in the footsteps of his older brother, the aviation academy said in a statement.
“Ozair's presence will be sadly missed by all staff and students at the Academy.”
Ashraf Ali, 58
Ali lived in Fiji, where he ran a taxi company in Suva.
He came to New Zealand around twice a year to visit family, and arrived in Christchurch about a week before his death at Masjid Al Noor.
His second wife had died around six months ago, his brother, Ramzan, said. His first wife, with whom Ali had a daughter, died four years ago.
Ashraf was a gentleman who was kind and even tempered, his brother said.
Ahmed Gamaluddin Abdel-Ghany, 68
Egypt & New Zealand
Abdel-Ghany and his wife and son immigrated from Egypt in 1996.
He had previously been in the navy and had worked at a hotel as a rooms division manager. Finding a job in Christchurch wasn't easy and he eventually took a job at a steel company.
He also ran a souvlaki shop with his wife and a food truck in Cathedral Sq called Egyptian Donuts.
"[He was] a compassionate, loving, generous, giving man," his son, Omar, said.
"He was never one to sit still. Some people would be happy to sit back and get the unemployment benefit, that was never him,"
Syed Areeb Ahmed, 26
Ahmed had recently moved to Christchurch from Karachi to work as a chartered accountant on secondment at PriceWaterhouseCoopers with the intention of supporting his family in Pakistan.
He was an only son.
“Areeb was a loved and respected member of our PwC family who lived our values every day,” the company said.
"His smile, warmth, dedication, respect and humour will be deeply missed.”
From Ahmedabad, India, he was due to return home the weekend after the shootings.
He and his wife had been visiting their son, Imran who had taken them on a trip around the South Island.
"[The family] were really happy that his last days were here on holiday not at work," his daughter-in-law said.
Muse Nur Awale, 77
Originally from Somalia, Awale had been in Christchurch for about 30 years, former Muslim Association president Mohammed Jama said.
He was married to Muhubo Ali Jama and had no children. Until last year, he was a marriage celebrant for the Muslim Association of Canterbury.
He previously taught religious studies at Hagley School and the Masjid Al Noor where he died.
Mohammad Omar Faruk, 36
Faruk, a welder, came to New Zealand more than three years ago. He was married in Bangladesh in 2017 and had planned to finish building a house in the country and return there to start a business.
His wife, who is three months pregnant, lives in Bangladesh.
Faruk leaves behind a wife who is three months pregnant and living in Bangladesh.
He was a great person who always had a “peaceful smile on his face and a genuine helpful heart,” said his friend, Md Mehedi.
Vora was in Christchurch to visit his son, Ramiz, who had just become a father.
He and his wife had been in Christchurch for one month when he was killed, alongside his son, at the Masjid Al Noor.
They were buried together in Christchurch.
Zakaria Bhuiya, 34
Bhuiya, from Bangladesh, was in Christchurch working as a welder.
He had taken the day off work on March 15 because it was his birthday.
His employer, AMT Mechanical Services, said Bhuiya sent as much money as he could to his wife in Bangladesh.
“He lived on the bare basics in order to maximise the money he could send home to support his family,” the company said.
Mounir Guirgis Soliman, 68
Soliman, originally from Egypt, had been a design engineer and quality manager at Scotts Engineering, Christchurch, for two decades.
He never missed Friday prayers and would go to the mosque every day. He also prayed at work.
Soliman was a “lovely man,” who would be missed both for his personality and for his vital role in the company, a spokeswoman said.
He had no children and is survived by his wife, Ekram.
Mohamad Moosid Mohamedhosen, 54
Mohamedhosen was born in Mauritius and came from the town of Vacoas.
Mauritius is an island off the coast of Madagascar, with a population of around 1.2m. A minority of its population are Muslim.
Mohamedhosen had lived in England, where he started a graphic design company. He had been in New Zealand for several years.
He lived in Linwood and was killed at the Masjid in Linwood.
Words: Charlie Mitchell and Georgia Forrester
Design & layout: John Harford and Aaron Wood
Editor: John Hartevelt