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Dark days for NZ with mosque attacks: PM

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An armed police officer is seen following a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AAP Image/SNPA, Martin Hunter)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there is no place in her country for extreme violence after a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch.

"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," the prime minister warned.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has said there were multiple fatalities at a number of locations, with one being the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.

The police have one offender in custody but say they don't yet know if more people are involved.

They have warned people in the area not to go out and to stay indoors.

Ms Ardern knew staying indoors meant some families were separated, but urged people to remain in lockdown.

"We are potentially still dealing with an evolving situation. And again, as I say, across multiple sites."

Ms Ardern said many of those who will have been directly affected by the shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, and 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.

"It has occurred in a place where people should have been expressing their religious freedom. Where they should have been in a safe environment.

"And they have not been today."

© AAP 2019