Christchurch mosque attack memorial cancelled

Sunday's national remembrance service for the first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks has been cancelled, the city's council has announced.

In a Facebook post from Christchurch City Council, a spokesperson said it was a precautionary move in the ongoing coronavirus response.

The event was going to be held at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch at 3pm on March 15 and people from all over the country were expected to attend.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the decision was made to protect the health of New Zealanders.

"This is a pragmatic decision. We're very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn't create the risk of further harm being done.

"The advice we received for this event, is that based on people travelling from different parts of the country and from overseas, if there was a case it could be difficult to trace those who had come into contact with that person, so we are taking a cautious approach.

"March 15 now becomes an opportunity for every New Zealander to reflect in their own way on the events of a year ago. I encourage everyone to take time on Sunday to remember and to recommit to the values of inclusion and love demonstrated so clearly a year ago."

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says New Zealanders says the decision was made in response to the rapidly changing environment around COVID-19.

"Tomorrow, we can still reflect on the incredible ways the community came together in response to the events of that tragic day, and think of ways that we can build on the compassion and unity that was so poignantly shown in our city, across the country and throughout the world."