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Accused Australian Mosque Terrorist Refused Bail

The 28-year-old Australian man charged with murder over the Christchurch mosque attack has fronted Christchurch District Court.

The man did not apply for bail or suppression and was remanded in custody.

He will reappear in court on April 5.

A 28-year-old man was charged with murder on Friday over a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch that killed at least 49 people.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed 41 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on worshippers at a mosque on Deans Avenue in central Christchurch, and seven others at a second mosque in the nearby suburb of Linwood.

Of the 48 people being treated at Christchurch Hospital, one person has since died.

"Our hearts go out to them and all of their families, all of their friends, all of their loved ones, and I want to assure everyone that we will do our best for them," Bush said about ppm local time on Friday night.

A floral tribute is seen on Linwood Avenue near the Linwood mosque. Image: Getty

He joined New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in describing the "unprecedented, abhorrent" event as a terrorist attack.

Four people were arrested, including one Australian-born citizen, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed.

Grafton man Brenton Tarrant appears to be the man visible in live-streamed footage of the attack.

Of the four people in custody, Bush said a 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning. He has not been identified.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Image: AAP

Two others remain in custody, while authorities believe one person, who was armed and at the scene, was not connected to the attack.

"The other two people that have been apprehended, again in possession of firearms in the general environment, we are working through to understand what their involvement is," Bush said, adding it is an "evolving situation".

"It would be wrong to assume that there is no-one else," he said.

Meanwhile, the national security threat in New Zealand has been lifted from low to high.

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," Ardern earlier told reporters about 5:30 pm local time.

These are people who I would describe as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand, and in fact have no place in the world.

You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.

She said the attack appeared to have been well-planned, labelling it "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

"Two explosive devices were found attached to suspect vehicles and have been disarmed," she said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the terrorist attack. Image: AAP

Both Ardern and Bush advised those in custody were not on intelligence agencies' watch lists.

"No agency had any information about these people, and I can also tell you that I've been in contact with my Australian colleagues -- they have no information on them at all either," Bush said.

READ MORE: Australian Mosques Warned To Be 'Extra Vigilant' After NZ Shootings

Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with agency chiefs on Friday after what he described as the "vicious and callous, right-wing extremist attack" which has claimed many lives.

"I can confirm that the individual who was taken into custody, I have been advised, is an Australian-born citizen," he told reporters in Sydney.

"Obviously that element of the investigation Australian authorities are involved in, and they will be proceeding with their investigation."

As family members with our New Zealand cousins today, we grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.

In an earlier press conference,  Bush confirmed reports of improvised explosive devices attached to cars.The explosives were found attached to vehicles, but had been "made safe" by the defence force.

He would not confirm if this was a terrorist attack, and would not speculate on a motive.

A centre will be established for people wanting to check in on loved ones.

"This is absolutely tragic," Bush said. "There will be so many people affected."

"As you can imagine, this is requiring every police and emergency resource we have available," he said. Defence force aircraft are ready to fly more resources into the area if needed.

Police are in the process of ensuring there are enough staff to "saturate" the nearby area before lifting the lockdown, while the lockdown of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted.

Police and ambulance staff help a wounded man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

EARLIER: Multiple fatalities have been confirmed after at least one gunman opened fire in two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand. Eyewitnesses say there may be at least 50 casualties. The injured reportedly include children.

One person is in custody, Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed on Friday afternoon, but police are unsure if there are other shooters."We are dealing with a very serious and tragic series of events," Bush said.

"The multiple fatalities are at two locations, a mosque at Deans Ave and another mosque at Linwood Ave, Christchurch.

"We are unsure if there are any other locations outside of that area."

Those locations remain in lockdown.

The location of the two mosques.

Police have asked all mosques nation-wide to shut their doors, and advised people to remain from visiting the mosques until further notice.

About 300 people were inside the Masjid Al Noor Mosque for afternoon prayer when the shooting started.

At least one gunman appears to have live-streamed the shooting. The distressing and graphic footage, which has been verified by 10, shows the gunman move from room to room in the mosque and appearing to shoot indiscriminately.

The footage was live-streamed on Facebook, but has since been taken down.

A man reacts as he speaks on a mobile phone outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

An eyewitness inside the mosque told the NZ Herald he heard shots fired and saw four people lying on the ground.

"There was blood everywhere," they said.

Another eyewitness said a woman and child were among the injured, and the shooter had used an automatic weapon.

Photo: AAP.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the events as "an unprecedented act of violence", and would make this "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

"Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here," Ardern said.

"They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us."

READ MORE: Jacinda Ardern: 'This Will Be One Of New Zealand's Darkest Days'

Jacinda Ardern: "This Is One Of New Zealand's Darkest Days"

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was "horrified" by the unfolding situation.

"I'm horrified by the reports I'm following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand," Morrison said.

"The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins."

Opposition leader Bill Shorten also offered his condolences.

"Australia and New Zealand are family and we grieve with our brothers and sisters today," Shorten said.

"We send our love and condolences, our sorrow and solidarity in this terrible time of fear and pain and grief."

The entire area remains in lockdown, with police urging everyone to stay indoors and report suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.

"Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high," Bush said in a statement shortly before 1pm on Friday afternoon.

"Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and indoors until further notice. Christchurch schools will be locked down until further notice."

Snapchat footage shows several police vehicles near Hagley Park: Snapchat.

The Bangladesh cricket team was at the mosque when the shooting started, but thankfully managed to escape.

"Entire team got saved from active shooters!!!" Bangladeshi cricketer Tamim Iqbal Khan tweeted.

"Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."

READ MORE: Bangladesh Cricket Team Help Bystanders After Narrow Mosque Shooting Escape

Nearby schools have been placed in lockdown, with Snapchat footage showing students sitting on the floor, away from windows.

Police have advised parents and caregivers the lockdown will remain in place for some time.

"There is no timeframe at this stage for when the lock down will be lifted," police said.

"The children are being taken care of by schools. On advice from police, schools will communicate directly with parents when the lock down is lifted."

The Ministry of Education has asked parents and whānau (a Maori word for extended family) to avoid waiting outside schools and services.

This story is unfolding.