Syrian father and son refugees were victims of Christchurch terror attack

Two of the victims of last week's shooting were a father and his teenage son who'd fled war-torn Syria in search of a better life.

They arrived in New Zealand ten months ago and set about making a home in Christchurch - and became an important part of the equestrian community.

When Khalid Mustafa and his family arrived in Christchurch last year as refugees, they truly believed they'd found the safe haven they'd been seeking.

In Syria, Mustafa worked as a horse farrier and trainer, shoeing some of the top show jumping horses in the Middle-East.

When he arrived here nine months ago Gareth Griffiths gave him a job.

"I wanted to hear his story about how he got here and he just always ended it in this is just heaven compared to what they'd been through in Syria," Griffiths says.

Griffiths says even though Mustafa didn't speak English at the start, he could tell the man who'd arrived with just a few of his tools and a big smile on his face had an undeniable ability with horses.

"He was very gentle and kind - he'd always like to see the horse move before he did anything, he was very particular," he says.

"The amount of times he held me up because he wasn't quite happy with a shoe. Take it off, re-do it, put it back - on you can't beat that."

But on Friday the 44-year-old and his 16-year-old son Hamza were killed as they prayed at the Deans Avenue mosque. Another son, 13-year-old Zaid, was badly wounded.

Griffiths says he can't even begin to describe how he feels.

Khalid's wife, daughter and surviving son face an immeasurable loss in a city where they should have been safe.