Aussie cops receive gifts, thanks at farewell
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2011
Australian police officers have been presented with a piece of greenstone to acknowledge their support "in our darkest hour".
New Zealand police yesterday thanked and farewelled the last of their Australian colleagues in Christchurch.
A poroporoaki (Maori farewell ceremony) was held for the officers, and each was given a piece of greenstone.
More than 300 Australian officers arrived in Christchurch three days after the February 22 quake that shattered the city.
Police Commissioner Howard Broad said one of the first post-quake phone calls was from the Australian police commissioner, offering to help. He said it was incredible to see the public stand and applaud the Australian officers as they arrived at Christchurch International Airport.
"We New Zealanders thank you, the men and women of the Australian police forces, for coming to our assistance," Broad said.
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much."
Senior Constable Terry McAuliffe said receiving the greenstone was a very proud moment.
"It is a link between Australia and New Zealand, and every time I look at it I will think of what happened here," the Western Australian officer said.
Canterbury district commander Superintendent Dave Cliff said it was comforting New Zealand had a "big cousin" called Australia.
"You are the guys who helped us out and who came in our darkest hour ... You will forever be part of the history of Christchurch," he said.