WELLINGTON: Two New Zealanders had been awarded the nation’s highest bravery award Thursday for confronting a white supremacist gunman throughout a 2019 terror assault on Christchurch mosques that claimed the lives of 51 Muslim worshippers.
Naeem Rashid, who died within the assault, and survivor Abdul Aziz had been awarded the New Zealand Cross for nice bravery in a state of affairs of utmost hazard for his or her actions in the course of the March 2019 shootings.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated the medal, which has solely been awarded twice earlier than, was New Zealand’s non-combat equal of the Victoria Cross.
An extra eight individuals, together with two law enforcement officials who apprehended gunman Brenton Tarrant as he tried to flee the scene in a automotive, additionally acquired bravery decorations.
Ardern stated the actions of these honoured most likely prevented the demise toll from being even greater.
“The courage demonstrated by these New Zealanders was selfless and extraordinary, they have our deepest respect and gratitude for their actions on that day,” she stated.
Armed with an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons, Tarrant first attacked Friday worshippers at Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque earlier than transferring on to the Linwood prayer centre, livestreaming the killings as he went.
His victims had been all Muslim and included youngsters, girls and the aged.
Rashid was within the Al Noor mosque and charged at Tarrant, partially knocking him down regardless of being shot within the shoulder.
Tarrant gunned down Rashid, whose son Talha was additionally killed, however his actions distracting the attacker allowed a number of individuals to flee.
Aziz confronted Tarrant when he moved on to Linwood, hurling a bank card fee machine at him after which taunting him to attempt to attract him exterior into a parking lot.
He additionally brandished an empty rifle discarded by Tarrant, inflicting the gunman to flee fearing the weapon was loaded.
A choose final yr sentenced Tarrant to the primary whole-of-life sentence ever handed down in New Zealand, calling his actions “wicked” and “inhuman”.