Today the world was rocked by news gunmen had opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand as people gathered for prayers.

The death count rose to 49 as the day unfolded, making it the joint seventh worst mass shooting in history.

Four people were taken in police custody in connection with the shootings, including Australian man Brenton Tarrant.

Police confirmed one man had been been charged with murder, but are yet to provide his name.

See below for a full recap of how the Christchurch mosque massacre played out.

5.50pm New Zealand police have confirmed one man has been charged with murder, but have not revealed his name.

4.33pm This afternoon New Zealand police confirmed at least 49 people are dead and that as many as 25 others were in a critical condition. The toll means it already ranks as the joint seventh worst mass shooting in history — with more confirmed fatalities than Australia’s own horrific Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

4.20pm One of the four people in custody Australian man Brenton Tarrant formerly worked at Big River Fitness and Squash in Grafton, New South Wales. Owner of the centre Tracey Gray was shocked to hear claims he may have been involved in the Christchurch massacre.

“He used to work here at my fitness facility five, six, maybe seven years ago. He never showed any extremes of extremist views or any cray behaviour,” she said.

3.42pm A statement released by WA Police Force Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said Australia’s terrorism threat level remained unchanged at “probable” after the Christchurch attacks, and urged the public and police officers to be “mindful of their surroundings including suspicious activity, unattended packages or activities that seem out of place”.

Anyone with information on suspicious activity is asked to call the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

3.12pm: A series of inflammatory tweets by Queensland’s independent senator Fraser Anning in the wake of the Christchurch mosque massacre have met severe backlash, with the public condemning his comments as a “disgrace” and inspiring “fear and hatred”.

2.50pm: NZ Prime Minister Ardern said the attack on the two mosques in Christchurch represented “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

2.35pm: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed at least 40 people are dead and 25 critical.

“We have undoubtedly experienced an attack today that is unprecedented, unlike anything we have experienced before,” she said.

“But, as I say, New Zealand has been chosen because we are not a place where violent extremism exists.

“We reject those notions and we must continue to reject them. This is not a enclave for that kind of behaviour, that kind of ideology. We will and must reject it.

“This is a place where people should feel secure and will feel secure. I am not going to let this change New Zealand's profile. None of us should.”

1.59pm: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirms an Australian-born citizen has been taken into New Zealand police custody over the Christchurch mosque shooting.

1.34pm: Opposition leader Bill Shorten says his heart goes out to the Muslim community in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.

He has urged Australians not to watch the footage of the shooting describing it as a “horrifying attack on innocent people worshipping”.

Mr Shorten said Australia was grieving for its New Zealand and urged people not to watch or share the footage.

1.24pm Australia’s under-19s women’s cricketers will return home from Christchurch with their tour of New Zealand cancelled on Friday.

The team were due to play a one-day match in Lincoln on Saturday followed by a Twenty20 at the same Christchurch ground on Sunday.

Cricket Australia have also been in constant contact with the team, while members of the side have communicated their wellbeing to their families.

1.19pm: Australian Muslims have been warned to be vigilant and careful with their safety in the wake of the killing of multiple worshippers in New Zealand.

Muslims Australia president Rateb Jneid says the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch are the horrific consequence of hate and has warned Muslims to beware of their safety in coming days.

“This act of terror on innocent worshippers is an atrocity and we grieve with the victims and their families,” Dr Jneid said in a statement.

1.17pm: News website now reporting that 30 people are feared dead.

Indonesia’s foreign minister says the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country strongly condemns the shooting and authorities are checking on whether any of its citizens are victims.

“The government and the people of Indonesia convey deep condolences to the victims and their families,” Minister Retno Marsudi said in a statement on Friday.

She was earlier cited by media as saying six Indonesians had been inside the mosque when the attack occurred, with three managing to escape and three still unaccounted for.

1.13pm: Chilling quotes from witnesses

“When the shooting started people started rushing out, and the door was closed, and the guys came on them and started shooting them...He went to all the different (rooms) and he shot everyone.” Witness Farid Ahmed, with blood splatters across his shirt, told AAP of the shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue.

“I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque.” Witness Len Peneha - who rushed into the Masjid Al Noor mosque to help after hearing dozens of shots - told the Associated Press.

“They were basically all shot.” Witness Syed Ahmed, who was among those at the mosque on Linwood Avenue, told news site Stuff about a group of elderly people.

12.57pm: The Test match between the touring Bangladesh men’s cricket team and New Zealand scheduled to start tomorrow has been cancelled.

The team managed to escape the massacre. They were on a bus that was pulling up to the Al Noor mosque near Hagley Oval for Friday prayers when the shooting began.

NZ Cricket said they had chosen to cancel the third Test, which was scheduled to start at Hagley Oval on Saturday, after discussions with the Bangladesh board.

12.54pm: A man claiming to have been born in Australia has issued a 74-page ‘manifesto’ saying he carried out the Christchurch shootings to avenge the deaths of thousands in Europe.

The man, named as Brenton Tarrant, prepared his manifesto titled ‘The Great Replacement’ and posted it on a message board website.

He described himself as “Just an ordinary White man, 28 years old. Born in Australia to a working class, low income family.”

Under a heading ‘Why did you carry out the attack?’ he said it was to avenge ‘thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders’.

It is believed that he is one of the men arrested.

12.50pm: Commissioner Bush - The attackers were apprehended by local police staff. There has been some absolute acts of bravery. I’m hugely proud of our police staff, the way they responded to this. But lets not presume the danger has gone.

12.46pm: Commissioner Bush said he was aware of the disturbing social media footage, he said it shouldn’t be in the public domain and police were doing everything to remove it.

12.38pm: Commissioner Bush said improvised explosive devices were found in their vehicles when they were arrested. He said they have been made safe by the defence force, but that does go to the seriousness of this situation.

12.32pm: Four people are in custody, three men and one woman, says NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush. He said there may be others but he could not confirm that.

12.26pm: People who were inside a Christchurch mosque when a gunman opened fire have described seeing others around them dying and injured as they fled the terrifying scene.

Syed Ahmed was among those worshipping when he says a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet and camouflage clothing begin shooting from outside.

Mr Ahmed has told the news site Stuff he believes at least eight people were shot, the first being elderly people sitting on chairs as they prayed.

12.20pm: One of the Christchurch gunmen confirmed as Australian man Brenton Tarrant, 28, who wrote a 37-page manifesto declaring his evil intentions.

It is not yet clear if he was the gunman in custody.

12pm: The latest - NZ Herald now reporting 27 people dead in the shootings in the Christchurch mosques. On shooter is in custody, others are still at large.

Footage of a disturbing live stream by one of the gunmen has emerged online and the nation’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled it ‘an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence’.

11.48: Former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark -

11.37am: The front entrance of the Al Noor Mosque -

A screengrab taken on Friday, March 15, 2019 of the front entrance of the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Police in New Zealand are hunting an active shooter after reports a gunman opened fired at a crowded mosque in the South Island town of Christchurch. (AAP Image/Google Maps) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

11.34am: Air New Zealand is offering flexibility to travellers booked to fly into or out of Christchurch.

The airline will waive any change fees and difference in fare for customers needing to make changes to travel booked for today. Customers can contact the airline on 0800 737 000 or via a Facebook message.

11.33am: A crisis meeting of national security agencies is ongoing at Police National Headquarters in Wellington after the Christchurch mosque shooting.

11.22am: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

11.21am: Asking if this was a hate crime, Ms Ardern responded: I would describe it as an unprecedented act of violence, an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand. This is not who we are.

11.20am: Ms Ardern - For now, my thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families. My thoughts also to those in Christchurch, who are still dealing with an unfolding situation.

The advice from police continues to be that people remain indoors. I acknowledge that that may mean that some families are separated, but please continue to listen out for information as it comes to light that’s been directly provided by the New Zealand Police with further information. But as I say, please remain in lockdown. We are potentially still dealing with an evolving situation.

11.18am: Ms Ardern - Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was.

11.18am: Ms Ardern - Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.

11.17am: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

11.10am: Commissioner Bush urged people from around the country not to go into a mosque anywhere in New Zealand.

11.09am: In a social media post, Commissioner Bush said they are unsure if there are other people. He confirmed the multiple fatalities were at two locations the mosque at Deans Avenue and Lynwood Avenue.

11.07am: Police commissioner of New Zealand Mike Bush - one person in custody. This afternoon we are dealing with a very serious and tragic series of events.

11.05am: From the NZ Herald - One of the gunmen is believed to be Australian. He filmed as he shot victims in the mosque and wrote a 37-page manifesto declaring his intentions.

11.02am: Latest developments - Gunmen have carried out mass shooting murders at two mosques in Christchurch. There are reports of at least six dead, with fears of up to 40 fatalities. The gunmen are believed to still be at large.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern is expected to speak shortly.

10.57am: It appears likely that there were shootings at at least two locations in Christchurch, with multiple gunmen involved.

10.52am: NZ Police are reportedly pursuing three people over the shooting. There are fears of as many as 30 to 40 deaths.

10.47am: Armed police are also at a second mosque in the suburb of Linwood, according to the NZ Herald.

10.46am: All Christchurch schools have been placed in lockdown.

10.44am: Australian diplomats in New Zealand are seeking information on whether any citizens were affected by the Christchurch mosque shooting.

People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police attempt to clear people from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

10.40am: The NZ Herald reports that terrified mosque-goers who fled a mass shooting in Christchurch saw a uniform-clad gunman with “a lot of magazines strapped to his legs”.

Robert Weatherhead told the news website he had taken in about 13 men and a boy aged about three after they escaped from Al Noor Mosque.

Earlier, he helped three people who had been shot at the mosque.

“One man had been shot twice - once in the abdomen and once in the shoulder ... he was conscious.”

10.35am: Christchurch mayor Leanne Dalziel has urged people to stay away from the area and said people were safer indoors.

She said police were working to get the situation under control.

She did not have any confirmation about fatalities or casualties.

10.30am: A gunman opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand as people gathered for prayers, sparking a hunt for an “active” shooter in the South Island town of Christchurch.

Armed police are deployed in the city at the Masjid Al Noor mosque where the shooting happened in Hagley Park at 1.40pm (NZT) on Friday and schools across the city are now in lockdown.

“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

Christchurch mosque shooting - Emergency services gathered at the scene of the shooting in Christchurch. Picture: Twitter

Breaking: Several people have been injured in a shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, with reports that at least six people have been killed. The gunman is believed to still be at large.

Armed police have been deployed in the city near where the shots were fired in Hagley Park at about 1.45pm local time.

New Zealand police are treating it as an active shooter situation.

A witness told NZ news website that a man came in with an automatic rifle and started shooting people.

Christchurch mosque shooting - Police respond to shooting at Christchurch mosque. Picture: Twitter

There are reports that six people have been killed, though officials have not confirmed any fatalities.

Another witness told TVNZ that he heard two shots then he ran out the door.

“I heard a big sound of the gun. And a second one, I ran. Lots of people were sitting on the floor. I ran behind the mosque,” he said.

“The floor. There’s lots of blood on the floor, you can see when you go in.”

Several hundred people were inside and witnesses reported seeing at least four people on the ground and “blood everywhere”, according to Radio New Zealand.

A mass casualty plan has been activated in the greater Canterbury region, which includes the city of Christchurch.

This included clearing space in the emergency department for incoming casualties.

A spokeswoman did not know how many patients were expected, adding it was an ‘evolving situation’.

Christchurch Hospital and the nearby outpatients building are in lockdown.

All appointments have been cancelled, and no staff or patients are to enter or leave the building, an advisory said.

It has been reported that up to 500 people were in the mosque at the time.

One man said the scene at the mosque was chaotic with as many as 40 people injured.

Gunfire was heard coming from the direction of the mosque and several people are were seen on the ground outside the building, One News reported on Friday.

It is understood members of the touring Bangladesh cricket team were in the mosque when the shooting occurred but they are believed to be safe.

Parts of the central Christchurch area have been locked down. A roadblock has been set up at the Aldwins Rd and Linwood Ave intersection.

About 20 armed police are clearing buildings in the suburb of Linwood and police are warning people to stay indoors and to report any suspicious behaviour.