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About 30 survivors, their supporters and representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin - including Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley - were on hand for the event.
The stood silently for one minute to remember victims of clerical abuse who had taken their own lives, then listened as Bishop Dooley called again for the Catholic Church to be included in the Government's upcoming Royal Commission on historic abuse.
Dr Murray Heasley, a spokesman for the Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and their Supporters, said the ribbons had come from survivors and supporters as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom.
One came from the widow of Richard Sipe, the former priest, psychotherapist and author who helped expose the clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, beginning in Boston, who died earlier this year.
The "paradox'' was they were being tied to the gates of the cathedral by victims who would be excluded from the Royal Commission, if the draft terms of reference were not expanded, Dr Heasley said.
The ribbons also aimed to turn the gates of the 132-year-old cathedral into a "loud fence'', so victims' voices "will finally be heard".
"For 132 years, victims and survivors of sexual abuse have been kept silent.
"That is why we are doing this today.''