AWKWARD KID: The NZ killer as a teenager in a Grafton Ghosts team photo.
AWKWARD KID: The NZ killer as a teenager in a Grafton Ghosts team photo. ABC / The Australian

'Monster of willpower': Grafton terrorist's journey

AUSTRALIA'S longest running investigative current affairs program has taken an in-depth look at the life of the gunman who killed 50 Muslims in Christchurch on March 15.

In the Four Corners episode "Under the radar" aired on ABC TV on Monday night, the 28-year-old terrorist was described as awkward during his time growing up in Grafton.

"Friends describe an awkward boy, obsessed with computer games, who was picked on at school for his weight," the report said.

"Becoming a gym junkie was life changing."

WATCH: Four Corners episode 'Under the radar'

In 2011, he boasted on social media:

"I run fitness classes with 20+ people daily who do nothing but stare, ask questions and mimic my movements for 60 minutes... And I enjoy it. My self respect is through the roof, I can truly do anything I put my mind to... I am a goddamn monster of willpower, I just need a goal or object to work towards."

Another post in the same year read:

"There is more to life than money. But while ever I work I do not have time to do what I truly enjoy doing, playing video games, snorting coke and hiring strippers."

When he was 20, his father took his own life while battling mesothelioma. He reportedly came into a large inheritance and left Grafton in 2011, travelling the world extensively.

International Security consultant Neil Fergus said the gunman fitted a typical profile of white supremacists and right-wing extremists.

"That more often than not have not achieved any particular success in terms of their professional or personal lives," Mr Fergus said. "In a sense you can say that what they're looking for is something to take their frustrations out with."

It was suggested during the episode that authorities had become so focused on Islamic extremism that they underestimated the deadly threat of the rise of white supremacists around the world.

Dean of Grafton, Dr Gregory Jenks described a "homogenous, anglo culture" in Grafton.

"If the town is very homogenous, then you're not used to seeing anybody other than somebody who looks like yourself," Dr Jenks said.

"And if that is being fed somewhere along the line by some nasty website that's blaming the muslims for our problems, then you can sort of see that they don't have the cultural literacy skills to navigate that whirlpool that they've got themselves caught up in," Dr Jenks said.