Soldiers returned to the streets of Christchurch's CBD today, to march in a traditional parade.
The 2/4 Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/4 RNZIR) were in Christchurch for the first time since the removal of the inner city red zone cordon on June 30, 2013 - a cordon for which they had provided manpower since the days immediately following the February 22, 2011 earthquake.
The battalion paraded through Christchurch streets before being challenged by the New Zealand Police.
They then paraded before Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Christchurch City Council Acting Chief Executive Jane Parfitt at the Civic Offices on Worcester Boulevard.
Following an inspection of the troops by the mayor and a reading of the Charter granting freedom of entry to the battalion, they continued on their procession along Worcester Boulevard, through Cathedral Square to Latimer Square.
Dalziel says the city of Christchurch is honoured to be able to welcome and support 2/4 RNZIR as they march through the streets at 1pm on Saturday 30 November.
"This Charter Parade is part of a proud tradition," she said.
"The battalion was granted the freedom of the city of Christchurch on 17 January 1966 as the 2nd Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast Battalion - a freedom which entitles them to march through our streets with drums beating, band playing, colours flying, bayonets fixed and swords drawn.
"It's a stirring visual experience with a lot of pride attached to it.
"This is Christchurch's chance to honour this battalion, just as they honour us with their loyal service in times of need - most recently in the wake of the February 2011 earthquake. The Charter Parade is a celebration and affirmation of that relationship."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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