Kiwi farmer who surrendered semi-automatic after Christchurch terror attack gains global attention

A New Zealand farmer who surrendered his semi-automatic rifle to police after the Christchurch terror attack has gained international media attention for his stance, and support from around the world.

Wairarapa farmer John Hart tweeted about his decision, writing "until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn't outweigh the risk of misuse."

"We don't need these in our country ... we have to make sure it's #NeverAgain."

He told Newshub it was a simple decision for him to make.

"After the events of Friday where I saw the Prime Minister say that our laws have to change, I realised that I couldn't disagree with her," he said.

His story has been picked up by media around the world, including CNN and Reuters news agencies.

He said the response was unexpected.

"I did this really to live my own values, and I wasn't expecting it to be picked up in the media or for it to become a big thing."

"I'm just doing what was right for me - but if others want to follow along, then that's great."

On Twitter, Hart posted about the feedback he had received from around the world.

"I'm a bit overwhelmed by the positive responses, and the negatives have been few (and mostly blocked). The devil doesn't need any more advocates." 

The farmer and former Green Party candidate would like to see semi-automatic weapons removed from civilian use, apart from for professional pest control.

However he said it was important not to just focus on the role of firearms in the tragedy.

"We need to as a country look a lot deeper at the causes as to why people want to act this way in the first place - and to do that we need to really examine the role of white supremacy in our society at all levels and really understand where it comes from and how we stamp it out."