As we've heard, the tradition involved policemen (only men back then) being required to dress smartly and pass inspection before proceeding to the local magistrate's offices to collect their pay packets. Their pay was docked if they "failed" the inspection.
Though the tradition has long since faded, the practice was temporarily reinstituted this year as an award ceremony, and most cities have held pay parades this year.
I believe this is an important event for the city's police and families – a day on which ceremonial uniforms and medals can not only be worn with pride, but we, the public, have the opportunity to applaud those who protect and serve them.
Assembled here are the city's "finest" men and women, who have taken a pledge to protect and serve the citizens of Christchurch and Canterbury. They continue to discharge these duties with honour and dignity, earning the respect of all.
Today, we honour some of them in an award presentation that will follow.
My congratulations to all of you.
The City Council has enjoyed a strong partnership with the Christchurch Police.
On an operational level we receive regular support for the many public events we hold in the city and during visits of foreign dignitaries.
Thinking back to the earthquakes and what the police did at that time, your commitment was above and beyond the call of duty. The whole city owes you a debt of gratitude that could never be repaid.
To the Police families gathered here, our thanks – to the fathers, sons, mothers and daughters – you have every right to be as proud as we are grateful.