Watch: Jacinda Ardern recalls moment she learned of Christchurch attack as she thanks first responders

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has met with St John staff who were among the first responders to the Christchurch terror attack, thanking them on behalf of all New Zealanders and recounting the moment she heard of the shootings.

Friday's shootings at the Deans Ave and Linwood Ave mosques claimed 50 lives. Ms Ardern has spent the day in Christchurch.

"To everyone that was part of that response, on behalf of everyone in New Zealand, thank you," she said, praising the first responders for their quick and able response.

"I was amongst those who watched from a distance, probably like many New Zealanders, feeling absolutely aghast at what we were seeing, but also just seeing your work in real time," she said while looking at St John workers in attendance.

"I was in Taranaki, at the police station for the first few moments, then I went to pick up my things and turned on the television and saw you working with speed and with care and I have no doubt that you saved lives." 

After her speech of thanks Ms Ardern left the room with the ambulance staff for a private meeting.

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The PM also spoke about her reaction when she first heard of the shootings. Source: 1 NEWS