Masjid Al Noor Christchurch attack
A flower memorial near the Masjid Al Noor (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

South Hagley Park is quiet. A peaceful wooded enclave flanked by busy city roads, it’s the kind of place people go to walk dogs and where children learn to ride bikes. On Friday, that quiet was brutally punctured, when a white nationalist terrorist entered the neighbouring Masjid Al Noor and gunned down 50 people while they prayed.

By Sunday the quiet had returned -- this time eerie, funereal and awash with emotion. The entrance to Deans Avenue, where the mosque resides, was laden with floral tributes. Even while armed police kept an ominous watch over the scene of the crime, people came from across town to pay their respects. They left flowers, sweets, and messages of love and hope along the edge of the park in front of the mosque.