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New Zealand honours bravery of 10 people during Christchurch mosques attack

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By AP with Euronews
In this March 23, 2019 file photo, worshippers prepare to enter the Al Noor mosque following the previous week's mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In this March 23, 2019 file photo, worshippers prepare to enter the Al Noor mosque following the previous week's mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Mark Baker, File

New Zealand road worker Wayne Maley was one of 10 people given official bravery awards Thursday for helping to save lives during a deadly attack on two mosques in Christchurch in 2019.

Fifty-one people were killed by a gunman at two mosques in the city on March 15 that year.

Maley, who was one of the first people on the scene, said he hoped the award would bring him some closure.

"Though we couldn't do a lot, (...) we did save some people, you know," he said. "We helped people out, but some people shot too many times died."

Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet Rachel Hayward said the awards were a way for New Zealand to acknowledge the recipients' courage.

"I think for everybody involved, this is a day of really mixed emotions," she said.

"I think it's wonderful to be able to acknowledge the courage of these people. But it's also a really difficult day and these were terrible events," she added.

Additionally, two Muslim worshippers who at different times charged toward the gunman to try and stop the massacre were each awarded the New Zealand Cross, the country's highest honor for civilian bravery.

One of the men, Dr. Naeem Rashid, was himself killed when he tried to tackle the gunman.

The other recipient, Abdul Aziz, survived after dodging bullets and chasing the gunman away.

The gunman, white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, was last year sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism.

A ceremony to honour the award winners will be held early next year.