Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded

The Christchurch terror attack, an appalling act of violent terrorism that claimed 50 lives and left dozens more injured, occurred a week ago today.

The deeply horrifying event on Friday, March 15 - a day that has since been dubbed New Zealand's "darkest of days" - has shaken the country to its core.

Here's how it all happened.

Friday, March 15

1:28pm: The alleged gunman posts to 8chan, an internet forum connected to the alt-right, with links to his manifesto, Twitter page and the upcoming Facebook livestream of the shooting.

1:30pm: The alleged gunman sends Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and about 70 other email addresses a copy of his manifesto.

1:41pm: The police emergency call centre fields its first reports of shots fired near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.

People in central Christchurch are urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious activity.

1:47pm: The first police officers arrive at the scene.

1:51pm: The Armed Offenders Squad arrives at the scene.

2pm: The police emergency call centre receives reports of a shooting at Linwood mosque.

2:06pm: The alleged gunman's car crashes on the berm of Brougham Street, 3km from where the shootings took place. Police cordon off the car over fears there's a bomb inside.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Supplied
Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Newshub.

2:20pm: All schools in Christchurch are placed on lockdown. Media hear unconfirmed reports that three people - and soon after, six - are dead.

2:40pm: People are urged to stay away from Christchurch Hospital unless it's an emergency as it goes into lockdown.

3:10pm: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cancels all her afternoon engagements and Christchurch City Council locks down its central city buildings.

4pm: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern begins her first press conference about the attack. She describes it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

"The person who has perpetuated this violence is not one of us," she says. "This is an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand. This is not who we are."

4pm: Police arrest one person in relation to the shootings, but there are fears there may be others. They again urge locals to report any suspicious behaviour.

4:20pm: The emergency response system is activated and all major agencies are called to a meeting with the Prime Minister in Parliament's bunker.

4:40pm: New Zealand Cricket announces the Bangladesh cricket team won't play its final test against the Blackcaps scheduled for the following day, and will instead head home early.

The team was forced to flee from a training session at Hagley Park when the shooting started.

5:31pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush holds his first press conference after the attack. He reveals four people are in custody, including one woman.

6pm: The lockdown at schools across Christchurch ends.

6:03pm: The true magnitude of the shooting is laid bare as media learn dozens of people have died. Police Commissioner Bush later confirms the number of fatalities is "significant".

Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush. Photo credit: Newshub.

6:35pm: The lockdown at Christchurch Hospital ends.

6:56pm: Air New Zealand cancels all regional departures out of Christchurch.

7:26pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirms at least 40 people have been killed as New Zealand's national security threat level is lifted from low to high for the first time in its history.

In a stirring press conference, she also labels the shooting a terrorist attack for the first time, and reveals the prime suspect is Australian.

Ardern says the bomb threat at the alleged gunman's car was legitimate, and police had disarmed two explosives.

7:34pm: Canterbury DHB reveals 48 people, including children, are being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds. The injuries range from minor to critical.

9:03pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirms the death toll has risen to 49, and a man in his late-20s has been charged with murder. Police are still working to establish whether the other three suspects arrested are connected to the attack.

9:30pm: Donations flood into the official Victim Support fund on Givealittle. The sum reaches $17,000 in the few hours after it is set up. Givealittle later confirms it is the fastest-growing and largest page in its 10-year history.

10:38pm: Security at mosques in the UK, France, the US and around New Zealand is heightened in the wake of the shooting.

10:57pm: Police search a property in Dunedin believed to be the prime suspect's.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Newshub.

Saturday, March 16

12:27am: Internal Affairs warns people not to share graphic livestream footage of the attack. It warns anyone who does so is likely to be breaking objectionable content laws.

2:24am: Australian Senator Fraser Anning releases a statement that blames New Zealand's immigration programme, which "allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate" here, for the attack.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded

He faces immediate and severe backlash for his comments.

7am: An ex-police negotiator expresses surprise that none of the four suspects of the attack had been placed on the terror watchlists of our intelligence agencies.

7:30am: Police say one of the four suspects has been released. They also reveal at least two of the 42 injured are in a critical condition - one of whom is a five-year-old girl.

9:30am: The Prime Minister holds another press conference. She promises, for the first time, that New Zealand's gun laws will change in the wake of the tragedy.

She also reveals the suspect released from custody was trying to help police with a firearm.

10:45am: Police deploy an additional 125 officers in Christchurch.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Getty

Comissioner Mike Bush says a "complex investigation" is underway. He says the prime suspect only faces one charge for now, but more will be laid.

11:22am: The alleged gunman appears in Christchurch District Court, which has been evacuated in preparation for his arrival. He flashes a white supremacist symbol while in the dock.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Supplied

He doesn't apply for name suppression and is remanded in custody. He is scheduled to appear again on April 5.

1:32pm: New Zealand's top politicians give speeches at the Canterbury Refugee and Resettlement Centre. They offer their sympathies and express shock and disgust at the situation.

2:04pm: Vigils get underway across New Zealand.

Attorney-General David Parker declares New Zealand will ban semi-automatic rifles at the Auckland Aotea Square vigil - the first indication of what the proposed changes to our gun laws might be.

The crowd at a vigil in Aotea Square, Auckland.
The crowd at a vigil in Aotea Square, Auckland. Photo credit: Newshub.

3:35pm: The Prime Minister confirms the alleged gunman's intention was likely to continue attacking before he was arrested.

4:10pm: The alleged gunman was a member of the Bruce Rifle Club in Milton, it emerges. The club is shut down in response.

4:35pm: The number of injured who still require treatment at Christchurch Hospital is now 36, after those with minor injuries are discharged.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Getty

Eleven of those are in its intensive care unit. One critically injured child is transferred to Starship Hospital in Auckland.

6pm: Fraser Anning is struck with an egg during a press conference about his comments on Muslims. He punches the teen responsible in reply.

The moment immediately goes viral, and 'Egg Boy' is hailed as a hero by many.

6:30pm: Families are left extremely unhappy after a briefing at Christchurch Hospital. It's revealed the deaths of as many as nine victims have still not been confirmed.

Sunday, March 17

6:50am: Frustration boils over for the first time about the release of victims' bodies to their families. Under Islamic custom, bodies are required to be buried within 24 hours of death, but the police investigation is making the return of bodies difficult.

8:35am: Australia revokes the visa of notorious far-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, after he blamed the Christchurch attack on "extremist leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures".

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Getty

9:15am: Gun enthusiasts rush to buy weapons as talk of a change to New Zealand's firearm laws gathers momentum.

9:35am: Police Commissioner Mike Bush reveals the death toll is now 50.

He also says a female suspect arrested on Friday has been released without charge, while a man would appear in court the following Friday on firearms charges. Neither of them is believed to be involved in the attack.

10:50am: Air New Zealand is slammed for astronomical airfares to Christchurch in the aftermath of the attack. Prices are selling for as much as $787 for a return flight from Auckland.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson urges the airline to offer compassionate fares.

11:45am: UK's MI5 intelligence agency begins an investigation into the alleged Christchurch shooter, understanding he may have met with members of far-right groups while in Europe two years ago.

12:10pm: Super Rugby side the Crusaders are urged to change their name, with critics citing its connections to the mass killing of Muslims by extremist Christians. The franchise promises to look into a name change once it has had time to mourn.

4pm: The Prime Minister reveals families are eligible for ACC funeral grants of about $10,000 - immigration status notwithstanding.

She also says New Zealand will ensure the alleged gunman's trial takes place here and he won't be extradited to Australia to face justice.

5pm: The Chief Coroner says five coroners are in Christchurch to fast-track the body identification process.

Judge Deborah Marshall says the long wait is because they're taking extreme care, as there would be "nothing worse than giving the wrong body to the wrong family".

Monday, March 18

5:50am: Facebook defends its response to the graphic livestream shooting video shared widely on its platform.

It says 1.5 million videos were removed, 1.2 million of which were blocked at upload.

7:25am: National leader Simon Bridges defends his party's failure to put more restrictions on semi-automatic weapons.

Rejected recommendations included creating a new category of restrictions for semi-automatic weapons and requiring police to record the serial numbers of each gun licence holders owned.

Simon Bridges.
Simon Bridges. Photo credit: The AM Show

7:30am: A gang member says the alleged gunman may be at serious risk of being attacked by his fellow inmates if he ends up in prison.

10am: A petition to have Fraser Anning booted out of Australian parliament after his offensive comments on Muslims surpasses 1 million signatures.

Fraser Anning.
Fraser Anning. Photo credit: AAP

11am: The home of the alleged gunman's sister is raided by Australian police.

11:18am: Trade Me announces it will halt the sale of semi-automatic weapons.

12:15pm: The alleged gunman reportedly sacks his duty lawyer and plans to represent himself. 

12:40pm: Australian politician Pauline Hanson, best known in New Zealand for her hard-line stance on Islam and immigration, is confronted and asked if she believes she's complicit in the attack in a fiery interview on breakfast TV.

1:10pm: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan screens a montage of the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch in an apparent attempt to rally his conservative voter base.

2:20pm: David Tipple, the CEO of Gun City, confirms it sold the alleged gunman four firearms, but not the military-style semi-automatic seen in the livestream.

He threatens to leave the press conference after journalists repeatedly ask questions about a gun debate.

3:50pm: Westpac says scam emails under its name are taking advantage of the nation's grief by targeting those wanting to donate to victims' families.

4:30pm: Some of New Zealand's biggest brands - including ASB, Burger King and Lotto NZ - pull their Facebook advertising in protest at how widely available graphic livestream footage of the attack was on the social media platform.

5:50pm - Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirms just one attacker is believed to have been behind Friday's massacre.

Tuesday, March 19

6:30am: An Australian man is arrested for allegedly expressing his support for the Christchurch terror attacks online.

6:45am: A gun club burns down under suspicious circumstances in Northland.

7:30am: Fraser Anning doubles down on his anti-Muslim views days after criticism for his comments on the Christchurch attack.

"Countries that allow large-scale immigration invariably have escalation in crime, violence and terrorist attacks. Now, as far as I'm concerned, that's just a statement of fact," he says.

2:05pm: Parliament opens with an Islamic prayer. MPs stand as Speaker Trevor Mallard leads a multi-faith delegation of religious representatives into the House.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Newshub.

2:30pm: The Prime Minister urges media not to give the alleged gunman additional notoriety in its coverage, and promises never to say his name in a rousing speech in Parliament.

Wednesday, March 20

5am: Police say post-mortem examinations of all 50 victims have been completed. More bodies are released to the families.

6:45am: The Islamic State and "almost every major jihadist group" calls for retribution after the terror attacks, a New York Times report says.

11am: The first funerals and memorials for the victims get underway.

3pm: The Prime Minister says planning on a proposed national memorial service in Christchurch is ongoing.

Thursday, March 21

5:50am: Police Commissioner Mike Bush suggests the two officers who caught the gunman should be honoured with awards for their bravery.

7:40am: Minister for the GCSB and SIS Andrew Little says there may be multiple reviews into our spy agencies in an attempt to avoid another terrorist attack.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded

11am: A petition to ban semi-automatic weapons is delivered to Parliament. MPs from the Green Party, Labour and National receive it, and a minute of silence is observed.

Christchurch terror attack a week on: How it all unfolded
Photo credit: Newshub.

1pm: Two Auckland Ray White real estate agents are sacked and a Westgate Medical Centre doctor stood down over comments they made about the Christchurch attack online.

1:30pm: The Ministry of Education announces a review of its lockdown processes will commence on April 2. It will take several weeks to complete.

3pm: The Prime Minister announces a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles in the wake of the attack.

4pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirms the identification process into all 50 victims has been completed after Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi, a 17-year-old Malaysian boy, was named.

Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi.
Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi. Photo credit: Supplied

He was previously reported as unaccounted for. All next of kin have been advised.

Newshub.

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