Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand police said there were multiple fatalities after a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, a city of about 375,000 located on the nation’s South Island.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shootings have led to “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

What is the history of Christchurch, New Zealand?

The planned settlement of Christchurch was founded in 1850 by a company financed by the Church of England.?

Population

4,545,627, as of July 2018, according to the CIA: The World Factbook.

Gun ownership

The estimated number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in New Zealand was estimated to be more than 1.2 million in 2017, according to GunPolicy.org.

Shooting deaths

New Zealand has had few mass shooting deaths. One of the deadliest cases involved David Gray who in November 1990 went on a shooting spree in the small town of Aramoana, located about 360 kilometers south of Christchurch. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, he killed 13 people, including a police sergeant.

Between 2008 and 2017, there were 76 murders or manslaughters involving guns in New Zealand, according to police statistics compiled by Radio NZ.

Natural disasters

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Feb. 22, 2011, causing severe damage in the towns of Christchurch and Lyttelton, killing 185 people and injuring several thousand others.

A 7.1-magnitude temblor struck Sept. 4, 2010, near Canterbury, New Zealand, about 160 kilometers west of Christchurch. The quake caused severe damage but no one was killed.

Sources: CIA: The World Factbook, New Zealand History