Wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant appeared handcuffed and barefoot. He did not apply for bail or to have his name suppressed and has been remanded in custody without plea until April 5.
Earlier, a gunman opened fire on Friday prayers at a mosque in New Zealand killing many worshippers and forcing the city of Christchurch into lockdown as police launched a massive manhunt.
Seven were killed at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one person died later at Christchurch Hospital.
New Zealand, with a population of five million, has relatively loose gun laws and an estimated 1.5 million firearms, or roughly one for every three people. A police auto rammed into his white SUV after it sped away from Linwood, pushing the vehicle up and onto the curb, which allowed officers to drag him onto the pavement at gunpoint.
Omar Nabi said his father Haji-Daoud Nabi, 71, who moved to New Zealand from Afghanistan 30 years ago, was among those killed the Deans Ave Mosque in Christchurch yesterday.
"People started to pass by us with blood stains on their clothes, they were very scared and their voices were trembling, some people could not even speak", restaurant manager Prakash Sapkota, who was near the mosques, told Euronews.
Peneha, who lives next door to the mosque, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway, and fled.
"The offender was in possession of a gun licence", she said, adding that the guns were purchased in December previous year. "FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi has condemned in the strongest terms the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand".
Two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and lever-action gun were used in the attacks.
For many, the road to recovery will require multiple surgical procedures and many survivors said the mental scars may never fully heal.
The footage shows him returning to the mosque, shooting a woman outside, and getting back in his auto.
In signs police say show a well-planned attack, army personnel were also called in to dismantle explosive devices found in a stopped vehicle and officers were on Friday evening searching a house in Dunedin, 360 kilometres away, clearing nearby homes for safety. "My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities", she said she told him.
"We just want to know if they are dead or alive", Mohammed told the officer.
In 2011 Breivik massacred 77 people, shooting to death 69 participants in a summer camp on a Norwegian island, and killed eight others by detonating a van bomb in the middle of Oslo.
The last comparable mass shooting in New Zealand was nearly three decades ago, and the annual murder rate is usually around 50 people for the entire country. I can only imagine now how New Zealanders are feeling.
Two other people have been arrested in connection with the terror attack, and they remain in custody as police conduct an ongoing investigation as to their possible involvement.