Naeem Rashid, a Pakistani-born teacher, also tried to rush the gunman, but died later of his wounds.
His son, 22-year-old Talha Naeem, a civil engineering graduate, was among those killed.
Mr Rashid’s wife and Naeem’s mother Ambreen said: “I still can’t understand or believe why and how this happened. But, I know that my husband is a hero. He always helped people and even in his last moments, he did what he could to help others.”
Khaja Mohiuddin, a chef, described how a fellow worshipper saved people by tackling the gunman while he and about 15 others hid at the Linwood mosque.
He said: “The guy was there with us and said ‘we have to do something”, so he ran and just pulled the gun down.”
One of Mr Mohiuddin’s friends was killed, shot through the head. Two others are seriously injured, one with a collarbone “ripped off”, the other shot in the shoulder.
While Prime Minister Ardern has vowed to change New Zealand’s gun laws, for Mr Mohiuddin it is too late.
“That doesn’t return our loved ones. I know I have lost someone about whom I care, and my two other friends, I do not know for how many months they will be on a bed,” he said. “It will not return their time nor my mate’s life back.,” he said.