Two rural police officers, one of them armed only with a handgun, chased and arrested Brenton Tarrant, 28.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the gunman, who had explosives in his car, was planning more attacks that day.
She had earlier called the killings “an act of terror”.
Tributes have been paid for the victims while authorities say all bodies should be returned to relatives for burial by Wednesday. About 34 people remain in hospital, including a four-year-old girl who is in a critical condition.
When he realised the mosque was being attacked, he picked up a credit card machine and ran towards the attacker. He threw the device at the gunman when he returned to his car to pick up another weapon, and ducked between cars as the gunman opened fire on him.
Mr Aziz, who was in the mosque with four of his children, picked up a gun that the suspect had dropped and pulled the trigger, but it was empty. He followed the attacker back inside the mosque, where he eventually confronted him again.
“When he saw me with the shotgun, he dropped the gun and ran away toward his car. I chased him,” he told Reuters news agency. “He sat in his car and… I threw [the gun] through his window like an arrow. He just swore at me and took off.”
Two rural community police officers who were nearby chased the attacker, blocked his car and captured him. The moment was filmed by a witness, who posted the footage on social media.
“[The officers] put New Zealand first,” Ms Ardern said on Saturday, adding that they would be recognised for their bravery.
By Jay Savage in Christchurch
With a police perimeter still in place, it’s as near as he can get. He looks at the building with tear-filled eyes.
“Now we are very sad,” he says shakily as he stands in Christchurch’s Hagley Park.
A migrant from Bangladesh, Mr Uddin, 37, moved to this picturesque city on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island more than five years ago. An Al Noor regular, he would have been at the mosque on Friday if he hadn’t had to work.
After hearing of the attacks, he began frantically calling people, but no-one answered.
“This thing that we feel is too painful.”
- Read more from Jay in Christchurch
“There were a few witnesses who said he saved a few lives by trying to stop that guy,” his brother Khurshid Alam told the BBC. “It’s our pride now, but still the loss. It’s like cutting your limb off.”
Mr Rashid’s 21-year-old son Talha – who had just got a new job and was hoping to get married soon, according to friends – was also killed. The family had been living in New Zealand since 2010.
Also at the Al Noor mosque, 42-year-old Hosne Ara was reportedly in the women’s area when she heard gunfire. She was killed while searching for her husband, who uses a wheelchair and survived the attack.
Farid Uddin said she had helped several women and children escape from the building as the attack unfolded. “We feel proud of what she did. She died in a good cause. She did exactly what she loved and what I loved,” he told the BBC.
“I lost my wife but I don’t hate the killer. As a person I love him,” he added. “I forgive him… I pray for him.”
- Social media’s role in attack
- New Zealand’s gun laws
Some of the other victims included:
- Kuwait-born Atta Elayyan, 33, who was the goalkeeper for New Zealand’s futsal team
- Khaled Mustafa, a refugee from the war in Syria
- Sayyad Milne, a 14-year-old who wanted to be a footballer when he grew up
Brenton Tarrant appeared in court on Saturday in a white prison shirt and handcuffs, smiling for the cameras. He has been charged with one count of murder, with more charges expected to follow.
He is the only person charged with carrying out the shootings and is believed to have acted alone, according to Commissioner Bush.
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