The National Remembrance Service was held at Christchurch Arena, where the names of the victims were read aloud while their pictures were displayed on a large screen. A minute of silence was also observed for the victims.
Community members sang songs and delivered prayers during the memorial, while Ardern spoke about how "words have the power to heal".
The attack carried out by a lone gunman took place across two mosques in the city of Christchurch and was targeted at Muslims attending Friday prayers.
New Zealand's worst peacetime killing shook the country to its core and prompted the government to quickly tighten gun laws.
- Two years ago, 51 innocent lives were taken without mercy at the hands of a coward. Their crime was their faith.
- Words will not take away the trauma that families, those who were injured, first responders, passers by who became rescuers, and so many others experienced that day. But while words cannot perform miracles, they do have the power to heal. That means we must use them wisely.
We all own and hold the power of words. We use them. We hear them. We respond to them. How we choose to use this most powerful of tools is our choice.
There will be an unquestionable legacy from March 15. Much of it will be heartbreaking, but it is never too early or too late for the legacy to be a more inclusive nation-- one that stands proud of our diversity, embraces it, and if called to defends it staunchly. And for those moments, may I never and may we never be at a loss for words.