On 15 March 2019 a terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand claimed the lives of 51 people, leaving 40 people with gunshot injuries. A Royal Commission was established to investigate whether Public sector agencies had done all they could to protect the people of New Zealand from terrorist attacks and whether more could be done.

The purpose, scope and limitations of the Royal Commission were detailed in the Terms of Reference set by the Government. 

The Royal Commission was required to make findings on:

  • what Public sector agencies [agencies] knew about the terrorist prior to 15 March 2019 that could have alerted them to the terrorist attack 
  • how agencies responded to any such information 
  • whether there were any failures to share information
  • whether agencies failed to anticipate the terrorist attack due to an inappropriate concentration of counter-terrorism resources on other priorities
  • whether any agency failed to meet required standards or was otherwise at fault

The Royal Commission was invited to make recommendations relating to:

  • any improvement to information gathering, sharing, and analysis by relevant agencies that could have prevented the terrorist attack
  • any changes that could improve systems or practices to prevent such terrorist attacks in the future
  • any other relevant matters 




  • Inquiry commences

  • Initial engagement

  • Communities engagement

  • Information and evidence gathering

  • Analysis and deliberations

  • Report development

  • Report presented to the Governor-General

Presentation of the report

The report was delivered to Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy, at Government House on 26 November 2020.