Christchurch's Cashmere High School in shock after losing two students in attack

Christchurch's Cashmere High School is reeling after Friday's terror attack left two current students and a recent past student dead.

Another student from Cashmere High School is in hospital with gunshot wounds.

"We became aware of an incident at the mosque, and we were aware we had three students signed out with an absence to attend Friday prayers," Cashmere High School principal Mark Wilson told Newshub.

On Monday, Wilson confirmed the deaths of current students Sayaad Milne, and Hamza Mustafa, as well as past student Tariq Omar.

Sayyad Milne was 14. Wilson described him as "an awesome kid, with kind eyes, a big heart and a cheeky smile".

"He was planning to be an engineer or an architect."

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Hamza Mustafa was 16. Wilson says he and his family had fled the civil war in Syria, and that Hamza was an excellent horse rider, who wanted to be a veterinarian.

"He was a great student, a compassionate young man, and despite not being here very long he had made a lot of friends," said Wilson.

His younger brother, Zaid, is in hospital with gunshot wounds, and to add to the family's heartbreak, their father was also killed in the attack.

Tariq Omar, a past student of Cashmere High School was also murdered.

Two other fathers of pupils were also in the Al Noor Mosque at Deans Avenue. One was wounded, and one killed.

The tragedy has left Cashmere High School and the wider community shaken. But Wilson says the school and its teachers are working hard to support their students.

"Schools serve a really important function in establishing regular routine. When people are in a sense of trauma, that regular routine becomes really important."

"Teachers do a wonderful job in terms of knowing their students and being able to support their students," said Wilson.

He says the students have already stepped in to support their community, organising food drives and bake sales to raise money for the victim's families.

"Events like this don't define who we are. They don't define us as a city, and they don't define us as a country."

"You can get overwhelmed by the grief, and the darkness but our job is to shine some light. We need to articulate to our students and show that love will prevail."