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City And Citizens Of Christchurch Awarded For Bravery

A ceremony this Friday night will see the City and Citizens of Christchurch receive a rare representative Gold medal bravery award from the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand, for their response to the Mosque Attacks of 15 March 2019.

This will be the second time the people of Christchurch have received such an award, the last one being presented in 2012 in recognition of the bravery shown by persons known and unknown during and following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

President of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand, Austin Forbes QC, says a Gold medal award is only given in exceptional circumstances: "There have been only two Gold medal bravery awards awarded in the last fifty years, so the fact that the City and Citizens of Christchurch are receiving the award for the second time in a decade is extraordinary. The Royal Humane Society believes this is a fitting tribute to the many people, known and unknown, who performed acts of bravery and humanity on that day in Christchurch. Many people acted selflessly to help their fellow citizens on that day and that is what this special award is in recognition of."

The Royal Humane Society of New Zealand's representative Gold medal will be presented at the launch of the Christchurch Invitation: Mahia Te Aroha this Friday evening. This will be one of seven representative Gold medal awards that will be presented on the night by the Governor-General and the Society's Patron, Her Excellency The Rt. Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy, which is an unprecedented number of Gold medal bravery awards to be awarded at one time and in response to one event.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel will receive the award on behalf of the City and Citizens of Christchurch.

“It will be my honour to receive this award on behalf of the people of this city. On 15 March 2019, our city was shocked to the core by the terrorist attack on members of our Muslim community at Al Nur Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre at their time of prayer.

“This is an opportunity to acknowledge the members of the wider Christchurch community, including passers-by and neighbours, who selflessly stepped in to save lives and to offer protection and support,” Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.

“We will never know all of the people who performed acts of heroism and humanity on 15 March 2019 and the days following, but this award from the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand honours each and every one of them.”

The Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Gold medal bravery awards on Friday night will be part of the launch of the Christchurch Invitation: Mahia Te Aroha, which has been developed by members of the Christchurch Muslim community as a way to ensure we harness the extraordinary response of aroha, compassion and mutual support we saw in Christchurch following the events of 15 March 2019.

Co-founder Anthony Green says the Christchurch Invitation aims to foster a more compassionate, stronger society where all of its members can feel safe.

"In launching this movement we are seeking to celebrate the rich diversity of our shared humanity while confronting the causes of prejudice and hate. It recognises that every one of us has a part to play in shaping a better future that promotes kindness and understanding towards others, regardless of race or belief, and it will demonstrate how we can all do that through simple every-day actions and behaviours."

The launch of the Christchurch Invitation: Mahia Te Aroha and the Royal Humane Society Gold Bravery Awards will take place at 6pm on Friday 23 July at the James Hay Theatre, Christchurch Town Hall. The sold out event was open to the public and more information is available at www.mahiatearoha.nz and http://ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/whats-on/event/christchurch-invitation-mahia-te-aroha

Royal Humane Society of New Zealand background information:

The Royal Humane Society of New Zealand was established in 1898. It is an independent, charitable body which makes awards for acts of bravery or acts of humanity by people in saving or attempting to save the life of another person, particularly where there has been personal risk to the rescuer. The awards are in the form of gold, silver and bronze medals, plus various categories of certificates. The level of the award reflects the extent of the personal risk to the rescuer. Over 2,000 such awards have been made by the Society in the past 122 years.

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