Christchurch terror attack: Up to 40,000 gather to pay respect in huge vigil

Olivia Tobin

Up to 40,000 well-wishers have gathered to pay their respects at a vigil for the 50 people who were killed in a terrorist attack in New Zealand.

Huge crowds of people gathered in Christchurch to honour those who were gunned down in a shooting at two mosques.

One of those watching from a wheelchair was 21-year-old Mustafa Boztas, who was shot in the leg and liver during the March 15 attack at the Al Noor mosque.

Mr Boztas said: "It's beautiful to see what the community has put together to show they care about us, and to show that we are all one.”

He said he was recovering well and hoped to be walking normally soon.

Officials estimate up to 40,000 people attended the event on a sunny evening at Hagley Park.

Mustafa Boztas was shot in the leg in the attacks (AFP/Getty Images)

It was held on a stage that had been set up for a concert by Canadian singer Bryan Adams that was cancelled after the attacks.

Huge crowds gathered to pay tribute to the victims to the mosque shootings (AP)

The names of each of the 50 people killed were read out.

Okirano Tilaia, the head boy at Cashmere High School - which lost two students in the attack, cited Martin Luther King Jr in his speech, saying he conquered people with love, peace and solidarity.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can," he said. "And hatred cannot drive out hatred. Only love can."

Up to 40,000 people are estimated to have attended the vigil (Getty Images)

New Zealand has been holding a series of memorials since the attacks.

On Friday, people across the nation observed the Muslim call to prayer one week after the attacks. Next Friday, a national remembrance is scheduled.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder in the attacks and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on April 5.