An online threat against a Christchurch mosque is a "significant incident" authorities will be wanting to quickly resolve, according to the president of the Police Association.
On Sunday night, an individual posted on an online messaging board, threatening worshippers at the Al Noor mosque, the target of the tragic March 15 shootings last year. The message, written in both English and Ukrainian, was accompanied by an image of the individual, who was wearing a balaclava, outside the mosque.
A police investigation has been launched, with a spokesperson telling Newshub that such threats to the community were taken "very seriously".
Police Association president Chris Cahill believes officers will be making a substantial effort to track the individual down.
"It certainly needs to be treated as serious, even though the most high likelihood [is] this is a weak coward who is just trying to put fear into people through the use of the internet," he told Newshub.
"The reality is for Muslims in Christchurch and around New Zealand this is a significant incident that police will be putting a lot of resources into to try and resolve, and rightfully so. They have the right to feel safe."
One of the difficulties police will be facing, Cahill said, is that the post was made anonymously on an encrypted application.
"This is definitely a threatening action and there will be consequences if this person is identified.
"The challenge, of course, with these anonymous sites, it can become very difficult and that is the challenge that will be around this."
The threat comes less than two weeks out from the anniversary of the massacre which left 51 people dead.
"It is incredibly disappointing that there are still people out there that are willing to take these sort of actions, especially as we are so close to commemorating the tragedy," Cahill said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also condemned the threat.
"I will be amongst many New Zealanders who will be devastated to see that as we [head] towards the one-year anniversary of a most horrific terror attack on the Muslim community, that they should then be the target of this kind of activity," Ardern told reporters on Monday.
"That is hard for me to believe and for most New Zealanders they will feel exactly the same way.
"I believe it is being taken very seriously."
A national remembrance service will be held in Christchurch's Hagley Park on March 15.
The alleged shooter has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges and is awaiting trial.