Jacinda Ardern's heartwarming tribute to 95yo anti-racism marcher

Jacinda Ardern has been so touched by the actions of the 95-year-old war veteran who marched against racism in Auckland that she's thanked him in a special post.

John Sato, one of only two Japanese servicemen in the New Zealand army in World War Two, was moved after hearing about the Christchurch attack and determined to take action.

He left his house on Sunday 24 March to visit a mosque in Pakuranga before deciding to go into the city centre for the march.

In a series of powerful photos, Sato was seen flanked by a police officer and a member of the public, as they fell behind the main marching group.

The Prime Minister was touched by the moving images and has posted a heartwarming tribute praising his actions showing her side-by-side with the veteran.

"It's hard to write something that does 95-year-old John Sato justice, so I'll use the words he shared after recently taking four buses to get to a rally and show support for the Muslim community. This is what he had to say," she wrote on Facebook.

"'I stayed awake quite a lot of the night. I didn't sleep too well ever since. I thought it was so sad. You can feel the suffering of other people...

"'I think it's such a tragedy, and yet it has the other side. It has brought people together, no matter what their race or anything. People suddenly realised we're all one. We care for each other.'

"Thank you John. Your actions warmed the hearts of so many during a time of such sadness."

John Sato at the march.
John Sato at the march. Photo credit: Getty

Sato told Radio New Zealand he was well looked-after at the march, even got a lift home afterwards.

"Policemen 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."

The Washington Post said his "journey and presence at the rally have become a small symbol of the emotion that has poured forth in New Zealand."