Editor's note

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared that the deadly shootings at two Christchurch mosques were terrorist attacks of “extraordinary and unprecedented violence”, which had no place in New Zealand.

But having researched white supremacy in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Massey University Pro Vice Chancellor Paul Spoonley explains why New Zealand was naïve to think that violent extremism was only a problem overseas.

Counter-terrorism expert John Battersby shows why New Zealand’s gun and terrorism laws were long overdue for an overhaul – but he also points out that no matter how big and well-resourced security agencies are, it’s impossible to stop every extremist from slipping through the cracks.

The use of social media in these attacks has been a particularly chilling aspect of the Christchurch tragedy. Swinburne University of Technology’s Colleen Murrell examines the failure to control the spread of the gunman’s video and asks what responsibility news agencies have in such a situation.

We will have more expert coverage to come this weekend, including an analysis from New Zealand on the psychology of hate and fear and another looking at right-wing extremism in Australia. You can follow the latest stories on our homepage or on the topic page ‘Christchurch mosque shootings’.

Veronika Meduna

New Zealand Editor

Grieving members of the public following a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch. EPA/Martin Hunter

Why overhauling NZ’s gun and terrorism laws alone can’t stop terrorist attacks

John Battersby, Massey University

My research focuses on terrorism in or affecting New Zealand. Until yesterday, my phone didn’t ring often because few were interested in anything I had to say. Since yesterday, it has not stopped.

Members of the Armed Offenders Squad push back members of the public following a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch. AAP/Martin Hunter

Christchurch mosque shootings must end New Zealand’s innocence about right-wing terrorism

Paul Spoonley, Massey University

Most New Zealanders see immigration as beneficial for their country, but extreme nationalist politics have been part of communities for a long time.

Multiple people have been killed in the New Zealand city of Christchurch after at least one gunman opened fire on worshippers at two mosques. Martin Hunter/AAP

Why news outlets should think twice about republishing the New Zealand mosque shooter’s livestream

Colleen Murrell, Swinburne University of Technology

People are sharing the gruesome video posted by the Christchurch mosque gunman. What is the responsibility of news agencies in such a situation?

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