Muslims with at least 10 different nationalities fell victim to right-wing terror attacks at two mosques in New Zealand's third largest city Christchurch on Friday.
The court was closed to the public over safety concerns, however a number of people gathered outside ahead of his appearance, including a man who told reporters his father was one of the victims.
Many victims still missing or injured, families and relatives continue to wait around the hospitals in Christchurch to hear about the fate of their loved ones.
A story of true heroism is emerging from the horrific terror attacks on innocent Muslims in New Zealand.
A steady stream of mourners arrived at a makeshift memorial outside the Al Noor mosque, where hundreds of flowers lay piled amid candles, balloons and notes of grief and love.
Ms Ardern said families would eligible for funeral grants of up to $10,000.
She also signalled that if convicted, he would serve his sentence in New Zealand.
New Zealand's Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said he spoke to one of the Trustees of the Festival last night about the decision, and why it was made.
Footage of the attack on one of the mosques in the city of Christchurch was broadcast live on Facebook, and a "manifesto" denouncing immigrants as "invaders" was also posted online via links to related social media accounts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday wrote to his New Zealand counterpart expressing his deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has spoken out on the mosque attacks. He said he survived by played dead, but was desperate to know what happened to his friends who were there with him.
"Had it provided details that could have been acted on immediately it would have been, but unfortunately there were no such details in the email".
We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people.
We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.
He used a semi-automatic shotgun as well as a modified semi-automatic rifle as he pummelled victims with multiple bullets.
"We can not be deterred from the work that we need to do on our gun laws", Ardern said.
There are an estimated 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand, which has a population of only 5 million, but it has had low levels of gun violence.
Police Association President Chris Cahill backed tighter gun laws, saying the weapons used in the mosque shootings were banned in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were gunned down.
"Fijian hearts are breaking for our brothers and sisters in New Zealand - a place where an atrocity of this nature is shocking nearly beyond comprehension". The minimum legal age to own a gun in New Zealand is 16, or 18 for military-style semi-automatic weapons.
Pence also affirmed USA cooperation in ensuring all the perpetrators were brought to justice.