One person has been charged with threatening to kill for making online threats to the Christchurch mosques at the centre of the 2019 terrorist attack.
According to Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price, the threats to the Linwood Islamic Centre and Al Noor mosque were made earlier this week on the 4chan website.
A member of the public came forward with the information, which police thought credible enough to take immediate action.
Two people were arrested in raids at properties in Linwood and St Albans today. The armed offenders squad assisted in the operation as a precaution.
Police say one person was released and the other, a 27-year-old male, has been charged with threatening to kill.
The man will appear in Christchurch court tomorrow and faces the possibility of further charges. Police said it it may be looked at as a hate crime.
Both mosques were searched and cleared by police after the online threats came to light.
"We take all threats of this nature seriously and we are working closely with our Muslim community," Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price says.
"Any messages of hate or people wanting to cause harm in our community will not be tolerated — it's not the Kiwi way.
"Our inquiries into this matter are ongoing and as a result we are not in a position to provide detail on the nature of the threat."
Price thanked the member of the public who came forward with the tip-off, made through Crimestoppers.
“It’s very concerning for me but very concerning for New Zealanders as a whole,” Price said.
He said most New Zealanders are “peace abiding” but said “we’ve got to call out this sort of behaviour”.
“When things like this happen, we respond and respond professionally."
Price says New Zealand is still at a medium threat level and “we need to have eyes open”.
Last year, on March 2, an online threat was made against the Al-Noor Mosque in Christchurch as the first anniversary of terrorist attack neared.
It was issued via an encrypted messaging app “accompanied by a photo of a masked man sitting in a car outside the mosque”, police said at the time.
Spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Canterbury Abdigani Ali released a statement after the announcement.
"We would like to show our appreciation to New Zealand Police in identifying the threat and acting promptly in consultation with the Muslim Association of Canterbury and Linwood Islamic Center leading up to the arrests today and also working in collaboration with the Muslim leaders in Christchurch to address this specific threat to our community.
"There is no place for hate rhetoric and hate crimes in our country and every community no matter their race or beliefs should feel a sense of safety and belonging."
Fifty-one people were killed in the mosque attacks on March 15, 2019.