The suspect appeared in the High Court at Christchurch this morning via audio-visual link from Auckland.
Criminal charges, such as murder and attempted murder are easier to pursue, although prosecutors may want the accused tried as a terrorist to make the point that right-wing extremism is just as unsafe as its Islamic counterpart.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with one murder the day after the attack on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15 and was remanded without a plea.
He showed little emotion during the hearing and will next appear in court on June 14.
A note from the court this week said the appearance was likely to be brief and would "ascertain the defendant's position regarding legal representation" and other procedural matters.
Omar Nabi, victim's son said "He's not a victim, he is the man doing all of this".
The public gallery was packed to standing capacity with members of the Muslim community and journalists from New Zealand and around the world.
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Police have said she might have dropped the boy off with a friend, noting that his auto seat and Spider-Man backpack were gone. Her biggest fear was that a judge would take her son away because of her mental health issues, according to relatives.
However, the charges were updated Friday to include the names of all 50 who were killed in the attack and 39 others who were wounded.
A disturbing video taken by one of the shooters emerged, which alleged gunman appeared to have live-streamed as he shot victims in a mosque.
The attack shocked the entire globe and prompted swift and sweeping gun law reform in New Zealand spearheaded by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The High Court judge overseeing the appearance ordered Tarrant to undergo a mental assessment to determine whether he was fit to stand trial.
It is unknown, however, whether Mr Tarrant will be the first person to be charged under the anti-terror laws of New Zealand.
Media had reported that Tarrant wished to represent himself and legal experts have said he may try to use the hearings as a platform to present his ideology and beliefs.
New Zealand's Department of Corrections said in an email they wouldn't answer questions such as where Tarrant was being held due to operational security reasons.