Nine people who risked their lives in acts of great bravery during the Christchurch terror attacks have been recognised at a special ceremony in the city today.
Dr Naeem Rashid died challenging the terrorist at the Al Noor mosque. It was announced last year he will posthumously receive the New Zealand Cross, along with Abdul Aziz, who chased the gunman away from the Linwood Islamic Centre.
Rashid ran at the terrorist, temporarily diverting his attention from people trying to escape through a broken window on the other side of the room.
During that time, at least seven people were able to flee.
"In a situation of extreme danger, Dr Rashid displayed great courage and bravery in challenging the gunman, with complete disregard for his own safety. In so doing, he selflessly enabled others to escape, at the cost of his own life.
"Without Dr Rashid's brave actions, the loss of life on March 15, 2019, would have been even greater," the citation read.
Abdul Aziz picked up a discarded rifle and shouted provocations at the gunman to divert his attention, with the intention of preventing further loss of life at the Linwood Islamic Centre.
He chased the terrorist to his car and threw the rifle at the back window, smashing it, before the gunman drove off with Aziz chasing after him down Linwood Ave.
"Mr Aziz's brave actions deterred the gunman from re-entering this mosque to kill and maim others and ultimately forced the gunman to flee the mosque," the citation said.
Senior constables Scott Carmody and Jim Manning have received the New Zealand Bravery Decoration for their exceptional courage in arresting the terrorist.
They intentionally collided with his car and dragged him out when he was wearing a bullet-proof vest with a knife, with two guns in the front seat and petrol containers arranged as an improvised explosive device in the boot.
Liam Beale has been awarded the New Zealand Bravery Decoration for stopping to help the injured after hearing gunshots when he was driving past the Al Noor Mosque.
He put his own life at risk by giving those who were wounded first aid and moving them to safety, all while the gunman was active in the area.
Lance Bradford, Wayne Maley, Mike Robinson and Mark Miller, who was killed in a crash near Cromwell earlier this year, received the New Zealand Bravery Medal for their efforts helping the victims.
Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro presented the awards at the ceremony at the Christchurch Town Hall.
Imam of Al Noor Mosque, Gamal Fouda said while Kiwis are paying their respects to the victims of the mosque attacks, terror attacks are still happening continuously in other parts of the world.
"I take this opportunity to express my condemnation of the attacks in Copenhagen and the USA as well as my unconditional support for the victims.
"The purpose of today's bravery awards is to honour people who were present at the two mosques during the March 15 terrorist attack. And each of those people is a hero in my opinion. But several people displayed extraordinary bravery, such as Dr. Naeem Rashid and Hussein Al-umary, who directly confronted the terrorist," he said.
Fouda said today is about paying tribute to those who gave their lives.
"So that we may live and see the reality that many people for a very long time were unable to admit.
"In the past few years, many awards were conferred as well on many people who witnessed 15th march to honour their bravery specifically first responders for exceptional acts of courage and bravery. There are always fewer honours and awards than people who deserve them."
Additional reporting NZ Herald