They both had their lives turned upside down by the Christchurch terrorist attack, but today they had smiles on their faces as they stood across from Al Noor Mosque.
Nearly a year after the mosque attacks that shocked the world, rescuer Len Peneha and survivor Gulser Ali have some catching up to do.
Mr Ali, who is 70 years old, described their bond in simple terms.
“I'm here standing only because of him. Otherwise, I would have hurt myself that day very badly," said Mr Ali.
The pair reunited today after meeting amid the chaos of March 15, 2019, as a gunman tore through the place of worship.
Mr Peneha lived next door but Mr Ali, who was worshiping inside, had to make a run for his life.
First lying still outside to avoid detection, he decided to try escaping over a two-metre fence without knowing whether the shooter had pursued him.
“I’m just going, ‘Either bullet, or I can be saved by jumping this wall,'” he recalled today. “I had two options.”
Somehow, he found the strength to get his fingers over the edge of the wall, where he found Mr Peneha waiting and ready.
“I grabbed him and just tried to get over. You were quite heavy you know, and trying to get you over took a little bit of work, but I got you over in the end,” Mr Peneha said today with a wry smile.
He saved five people that day, sheltering as many as he could amid the chaos, before running down the driveway to try and help more.
The pair haven’t met since a few weeks after the shooting and both are now on a path to recovery.
Mr Ali suffered bad gashes to his legs and has now retired, but he is back worshiping at the mosque. Mr Peneha, who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the shooting, has moved to a new home with a different outlook.
Now back together, after so long apart, the pair both described how they felt they were ordained to meet in that moment.
“God is there to send him, definitely, I believe in that,” Mr Ali said.
“I actually believe now that I was meant to be there on that day as well,” Mr Peneha agreed.
That day, horrible as it was, forged a friendship that will last a lifetime.