Christchurch mosque attacks: Counter-terrorism hui hears how New Zealand is less safe to live in following shooting

Details of current terror threats facing New Zealand have been laid out at the opening of a two-day hui on counter-terrorism and violent extremism in Christchurch.

He Whenua Taurikura heard New Zealand is a far less safe country to live in because of the March 15, 2019 attacks on two Christchurch mosques.

The threat level in New Zealand is classified right now as 'medium', but speakers at the hui on Tuesday were frank - the March 15 attacks have made this country a more dangerous place to live.

"There is a realistic possibility that the terrorist's actions could inspire another white identity extremist attack in New Zealand," says Rebecca Kitteridge, Director-General of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).

Minister Responsible for the NZSIS Andrew Little says there's "no guarantee" an attack wouldn't happen again.

"We just have to be alert to this possibility and take every step that we can," he says.

It's an idea that's echoed by a terrorism expert.

"Mass casualty events like the Christchurch attacks inspire a lot of people," says Dr Chris Wilson, Auckland University terrorism expert. "The mass casualty events set off contagion events that can last for years."

As history has shown.

"So something like the Columbine School shootings set off about 500 attacks that people tried to imitate those shootings," Dr Wilson adds.

The hui also heard the greatest risk right now is individuals operating alone and interacting with like-minded people online.

"It's incredibly difficult. Well, it's impossible for the security services to say they can prevent every single planned attack," Dr Wilson says.

Police agree, but conversations like these go a long way.

"These are really complicated issues. You've got the public's trust, the public's anxiety, the hurt and pain after 15th March," says Police national security advisor Cameron Bayly.

And now, the job of countering terrorism is on all of us.

"There are 10,000 police officers about [and] 4000 staff that can gather a lot of information, but there are 5 million people in New Zealand and our partners across the globe and you're only as good as that network," Bayly says.

While the hui helped the conversation around terrorism in New Zealand, some attending said its approach isn't the right one - a lack of Muslim speakers raised eyebrows.

Little was on the back foot when asked about it.

"I don't know why they don't specifically appear as panellists or speakers in the programme," he says.

People both within and outside of the Muslim community were upset.

"The same institutions that failed and have been targeting Muslims for the past 20 years are now somehow going to deliver us a strategy that's going to protect the Muslim community," says Christchurch resident Valerie Morse.

But for many, the hui was welcomed.

"There is more to do, but as I said, this is the best way to know what exactly is lacking and what is to be done," says Ahmed Jahangir, who was injured at the Linwood mosque.

"Victim-centred approach is quite important but also taking the whole New Zealand context into it, there's a long way to go," adds National Islamic Youth Association co-chair Haris Murtaza.