“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch.
“We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people. No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship.
“This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community.
“It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.
“We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in New Zealand today.”
The Queen has also sent a message of support:
“I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.
“I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.
“At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.”