A 95-year-old World War II veteran took four buses so he could join an anti-racism march in New Zealand

Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty ImagesJohn Sato (C) 95, one of only two Japanese servicemen in the New Zealand army in WWII, took two buses from Howick to join the march against racism at Aotea Square on March 24, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. 50 people were killed, and dozens were injured in Christchurch on Friday, March 15 when a gunman opened fire at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
  • John Sato, 95, joined the anti-racism march in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday after travelling by bus from his town of Howick.
  • He was supported through the march by a police constable and actor Bruce Hopkins, best known for his roles in the “Lord of the Rings” films.
  • Sato said his journey was motivated by the desire to stand with his country after the Christchurch mosques shootings that killed 50 people.

A 95-year-old World War II veteran took four buses from his hometown to the city center of Auckland, New Zealand, to take part in an anti-racism march following the Christchurch mosques shootings that killed 50 people.

John Sato, who doesn’t drive, took the 12-mile journey from Howick to Aukland’s Aotea Square via bus to join the march on Sunday.

He told Radio New Zealand that he took a 10 a.m. bus to a memorial in Pakuranga, New Zealand, on Sunday, before deciding to head to Aotea Square for the anti-racism march, a journey that required two further bus transfers, or four buses in total.

When he arrived Aotea Square, a police constable and actor Bruce Hopkins took him by the hands to help him through the march.

Sato, who said he was one of two Japanese men in the New Zealand Army during WWII, said his journey was motivated by the desire to stand with his country in such a tragic time.

“I think it is such a tragedy, and yet…it has brought people together. It doesn’t matter what their race or anything. People, they suddenly realise we’re all one. We care for each other,” he told Radio New Zealand.


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Thousands of people gathered in Central Auckland for the march organised by the group Love Aotearoa, Hate Racism on Sunday.

As part of the event, the names of all 50 victims were read out and there was a two-minute silence.

Sato, whose wife died 15 years ago and daughter died last year, told the New Zealand Herald that he is a member of a humanitarian organisation that stands for compassion among all people.

After the march, police officers took Sato home so he wouldn’t have to make the journey back by bus.

“Policeman took me all the way home, waited down there until he saw me getting up the stairs. The tragedy in Christchurch, look at what it brought out in people. It shows the best of humanity,” he told Radio New Zealand.

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