People caught up in the mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand have spoken of their terror as the massacre unfolded.

Witness Mohan Ibrahim said he was one of 200 people in the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch when he heard shots fired.

He told the New Zealand Herald: "At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running."

"I still have friends inside," he added.

"I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven't heard from. I am scared for my friends' lives."

"He had a big gun ... he came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere."

Members of the Bangladesh cricket team, currently on tour in New Zealand, said on social media that they had nearly been caught up in the tragedy.

Tamim Iqbal tweeted: "Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers", while Mushfiqur Rahim said: "Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque...we r extremely lucky...never want to see this things happen again....pray for us."

A Palestinian man who was in one of the mosques said he saw someone being shot.

"I heard three quick shots, then after about 10 seconds it started again. It must have been an automatic - no one could pull a trigger that quick," the man, who did not wish to be named, said.

"Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood," he said, adding that he joined the fleeing crowd and managed to escape.

One witness told he was praying when he heard shooting - and then saw his wife lying dead on the footpath outside when he fled.

Another man said he saw children being shot.

"There were bodies all over," he said.

An eyewitness told Radio New Zealand that he heard shots fired and four people were lying on the ground, with "blood everywhere".

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Another witness, Mahmood Nasir, said everyone ran to the back doors to save themselves.

"At first, we hide behind the cars and you know under the car, then when we see the the fighting [shooting] is still on we try to jump the fence."

He said one of his friends had been shot in the arm and he also witnesses a shooter changing his gun during the attack.

"I was just praying to God and hoping our God, please, let this guy stop..." 

A man who said he was at the Al Noor mosque told media the gunman was white, blond and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest. The man burst into the mosque as worshippers were kneeling for prayers.

He said he and others escaped by breaking through a glass door.