New Zealand has “fundamentally changed” since the Christchurch mosque attacks one year ago, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.
Fifty-one people died when a gunman attacked two mosques last March.
Hundreds of people from the mosques attended a joint prayer meeting at the Horncastle Arena in the city to mark the anniversary.
Although the anniversary is on Sunday, it was the mosques’ Friday prayers that were targeted last year.
The arena is near the Al Noor mosque, where 43 people were killed. Eight were killed at the Linwood mosque.
A second larger event will be held on Sunday, also at the arena.
At a news conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “New Zealand and its people have fundamentally changed” since the attacks.
She also acknowledged that “much more” needed to be done to stop radicalisation in the country.
“The challenge for us will be ensuring in our everyday actions, and every opportunity where we see bullying, harassment, racism, discrimination, calling it out as a nation,” she said.
“That is when we’ll show we each individually have a role to play in making sure that New Zealand has changed fundamentally for the better.”
On 15 March, a gunman drove to the Al Noor mosque (Masjid An-Nur) in Christchurch took a gun from his car, then entered the building and began shooting.
After less than 30 seconds, he returned to his car, picked up another weapon, then re-entered the mosque and resumed his attack.
Footage from a headcam he was wearing showed him pass from room to room, killing as he went. The shootings were broadcast on Facebook Live.