"Freedom has come under attack in New Zealand as peaceful worshippers are targeted in a despicable act of evil".
None of those arrested had a criminal history or were on watchlists in New Zealand or Australia. But updates were slow to come, and many families were still waiting to hear whether their loved ones were among the victims.
A short distance away, 39 people were being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds and other injuries inflicted in the massacre.
Brenton Tarrant remained silent and looked at journalists in the gallery. Tarrant has spent little time in Australia in the past four years and only had minor traffic infractions on his record. He was arrested by police afterwards. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured.
She also spoke with families who are trying to locate missing relatives after the sickening attack.
"We appear to primarily be dealing with one primary perpetrator, but we want to make sure that we don't take anything for granted in ensuring New Zealanders' safety", Prime Minister Ardern said.
Judge Paul Kellar said although Tarrant was facing only one murder charge, it was "reasonable to assume there will be other charges".
"Front of mind for them, of course, is fulfilling their religious expectations and that is burial". New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts. "I can't even go to the mosque now because I am scared of that happening again", the 16-year-old told New Zealand television.
As well as speaking with the families of the dead, the Prime Minister spoke to survivors from the attack. "The horrific active shooter scenario at a mosque is something we all pray never happens (but) there is no active intelligence that there is any immediate threat in the U.S. But we can not be complacent".
Ardern also said it was believed the weapons used in the attack had been modified and that loopholes that allow such modifications would be closed in proposed gun reforms to be discussed by cabinet on Monday.
Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019. "It is at times like this we draw on those relationships to continue dialogue on concerns and fears surrounding the tragic incidents that happened in New Zealand". For many, this may not have been the place they were born. "I convey the message of love and support on behalf of New Zealand to all of you, she said. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion". Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it, and those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack.
"We mourn the heartbreaking killings of men, women and children gathered for prayer in their houses of worship and urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists", CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.