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Special Honours List 1 August 2016 (Bravery Awards)

SPECIAL HONOURS LIST

NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY AWARDS

The Queen has been pleased to approve the following New Zealand Bravery Awards:

THE NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY DECORATION (NZBD)

Christopher Mark FOOT

Citation

In Dunedin on the evening of 15 January 2014, Mr Chris Foot and his wife had gone to bed and were watching television when they both heard a loud commotion coming from outside their house. Mr Foot stepped out onto their balcony to investigate the disturbance and saw his neighbour running to their house in a hysterical state, screaming for help. The neighbour indicated that her estranged husband, who had a protection order in force against him, had forcibly entered their house and had attempted to kill her with a gun. She had been able to escape, but her two children, a boy aged nine years and a daughter aged six years still remained in the house.

Mr Foot immediately ran, barefoot, to the house next door with the intent of confronting the man. Mr Foot approached the house and knocked on the glass front door, yelling to get the man’s attention. The armed man then walked down the hallway to the front door, pointing a shotgun directly at Mr Foot. Mr Foot attempted to reason with the man, demanding that he stop pointing the gun at him and allow the children to safely leave the house. Without warning the man fired his shotgun at Mr Foot, but stumbled causing the blast to hit the top of the front door. Mr Foot retreated to his house to get footwear, believing he would have to kick the front door down to enter the house and get the children out. As he was returning to his home he heard another shotgun blast.

After getting his boots, Mr Foot returned to the house and entered via a side entrance. He called out to the man, but heard no response. He crept through the house looking for the man, and found him lying on the bed in the main bedroom with a shotgun wound to his chest and the weapon at his side. Mr Foot then discovered the bodies of the children, who had been killed in their bedrooms.

Mr Foot, without hesitation and with an awareness of the danger posed by his neighbour’s estranged husband, placed himself at risk in an attempt to defuse a hostile situation and prevent the armed and agitated man from harming his neighbour’s children.

Blair John SPALDING

Senior Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

On 25 August 2014 in Hamilton a van was stolen by an offender with a history of violent crime and methamphetamine use. Constable Blair Spalding (now Senior Constable) responded and pursued the van into a traffic-heavy road, where he attempted to pass to warn traffic ahead and create a buffer between civilian traffic and the van. The van swerved into oncoming traffic to prevent Spalding from overtaking. Given his knowledge of the offender’s propensity to carry firearms Constable Spalding deemed it an unacceptable risk to allow the van into the central city and pulled alongside the van, at which point it swerved and came into contact with Spalding’s Police dog van. Spalding pushed the van off the road and across the footpath, before it broke free and continued along the street, eventually entering the carpark of a supermarket via the exit lane and colliding with a vehicle that was leaving. The offender left the van carrying a loaded sawn-off shotgun.

Constable Spalding entered the car park and swung around to cut the offender off. The offender, now on foot, ran into the side of the dog van before continuing and attempting to take another vehicle at gunpoint from an elderly woman at the supermarket’s petrol pumps. Spalding exited his vehicle and encountered the offender grappling with Constable Benjamin Turner. Spalding ran to assist and held one of the offender’s arms, while Turner restrained the other arm. During the struggle both barrels of the shotgun went off and Constable Spalding suffered a number of puncture wounds to his left foot and leg, while the offender caught ricochet pellets to his leg and torso. The offender was properly restrained once another Police officer engaged the offender with his dog and handcuffs were able to be applied.

Benjamin Patrick TURNER

Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

On 25 August 2014 in Hamilton a van was stolen by an offender with a history of violent crime and methamphetamine use. The Police pursued the vehicle, knowing that the offender had a propensity to carry firearms and deeming it an unacceptable risk to allow the van into the central city. Police pursued the van to a supermarket carpark, where it collided with a civilian vehicle. The offender then left the van carrying a loaded sawn-off shotgun. Constable Ben Turner arrived at the supermarket carpark in a Police dog van and observed the offender attempt to take another vehicle at gunpoint from an elderly woman at the supermarket’s petrol pumps. Fearing for the woman’s safety Constable Turner rushed over and grabbed the offender and dragged him away from her car. Knowing the offender had the shotgun in his right hand, he swung the offender around by his left arm to keep him moving and off balance. At that point Constable Blair Spalding arrived and assisted Turner by holding the offender’s right arm. Both barrels of the shotgun went off at this time and Constable Spalding suffered a number of puncture wounds to his left foot and leg, while the offender caught ricochet pellets to his leg and torso. A Police dog handler arrived and set his dog on the offender, before supplying Constable Turner with handcuffs to restrain the violently struggling offender.

NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY AWARDS

The Governor-General, under authority delegated by The Queen, has been pleased to approve the following New Zealand Bravery Awards:

THE NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY MEDAL (NZBM)

Dr Christopher Michael Thomas HENRY

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the multi-storey CTV building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts.

Dr Chris Henry had been working triage at Latimer Square before moving to the CTV building to provide onsite medical assistance to trapped survivors. He joined firefighters who were extracting survivors and deceased people out of a tunnel into the fourth floor of the building. The tunnel had been cleared by Fire Service personnel, but was not wide enough to fit two people side by side and rescuers had to crawl on their stomachs in the tight space. Smoke from the fire onsite was also present in the tunnel. Dr Henry took over from another doctor who had been providing medical assistance and began making trips in and out of the tunnel to assess the remaining survivors who had not been extracted, and provide medication where needed. As there was no room to turn around in the tunnel Fire Service personnel and Dr Henry were pulled out by their feet whenever there were significant aftershocks. Dr Henry made 20 trips in and out of the tunnel over a number of hours to support rescue efforts carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks, providing reassurance and pain relief in the rescue of two survivors.

Carl JENNINGS

Citation

On the night of 23 November 2012 a homeowner set fire to her home in the Auckland suburb of Orakei with the assistance of accelerant, in the process setting herself alight. Shortly thereafter the house was fully engulfed with fire and parts of the house were exploding and raining debris over the road.

Mr Carl Jennings was at his home when he heard an explosion and investigated, observing flames coming from his neighbour’s house. Without hesitation he immediately ran to the burning house and entered a smoke-filled garage. He then followed the victim’s screams to a room further inside the house where he located the victim badly burnt and lying on the stairs. Mr Jennings then grabbed her arms and dragged her towards a clearer area of the house out of immediate direct harm from the fire. He then went outside to get a breath of air, and returned with two other neighbours where they carried the badly burnt victim from inside the garage to the roadside, and then assisted in providing aid to the woman until the arrival of emergency services. Mr Jennings risked his own safety to rescue the woman from her burning house, saving her life.

Ryan William LILLEBY

Sergeant, New Zealand Police

Citation

On 27 July 2014 Sergeant Ryan Lilleby attended a family violence callout to a house in the Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe along with two other Police officers.

A woman met the Police officers outside the property and stated that her husband was inside armed with a knife and was threatening self-harm, having earlier threatened to kill her with the knife. Sergeant Lilleby observed the man through an open window and told him to drop his knives, to which the man responded by beginning to cut his wrist with a large kitchen knife. The Police officers bypassed the locked front door and entered the house, finding the man sitting on a couch with two knives. Lilleby and another officer aimed their tasers at the man and instructed him to drop the knives. When this was ignored the other officer fired his taser, which had no effect in subduing the man. The man then stood and charged at the Police officers with both knives outstretched. Sergeant Lilleby fired his taser, again to no effect, before the Police officers became separated as they attempted to back out of the room. One Police officer was cornered by the man in the kitchen, and was stabbed in the stomach with the larger knife, which was stopped by stab resistant body armour. As the man tried to stab the officer in the neck with the smaller knife, Sergeant Lilleby grabbed the man from behind while he still had both knives and wrestled him to the floor. Sergeant Lilleby struck the man in the head to momentarily stun him, allowing Lilleby to restrain him further until he was handcuffed by the third Police officer.

Christopher Steven MCDOWELL

Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

On 27 July 2014 Constable Chris McDowell attended a family violence callout to a house in the Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe along with two other Police officers.

A woman met the Police officers outside the property and stated that her husband was inside armed with a knife and was threatening self-harm, having earlier threatened to kill her with the knife. One of the officers observed the man through an open window and told him to drop his knives, to which the man responded by beginning to cut his wrist with a large kitchen knife. Constable McDowell then broke a glass panel to bypass the locked front door and the three Police officers entered the house, finding the man sitting on a couch with two knives. McDowell and a second officer aimed their tasers at the man and instructed him to drop the knives. When this was ignored McDowell fired his taser, which had no effect in subduing the man. A second shot from McDowell’s taser also had no effect. The man then stood and charged at the Police officers with both knives outstretched. The Police officers became separated as they attempted to back out of the room. Constable McDowell was cornered by the man in the kitchen, who stabbed him in the stomach with the larger knife, which was stopped by stab resistant body armour. As the man tried to stab McDowell in the neck with the smaller knife, the second Police officer grabbed the man from behind while he still had both knives, and wrestled him to the floor. After a violent struggle the three Police officers were able to disarm and arrest the man.

Thomas Deane O’CONNOR

Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

On the evening of 12 August 2013, shortly after 6pm, a vehicle travelling on the Maungatapu Causeway Bridge towards Mount Maunganui crossed the centreline and into the path of an oncoming van. The van and its two occupants spun into the railing of the bridge, crashing through it and dropping five metres into the Tauranga Harbour. The van then sank rapidly to the harbour floor with both occupants in the vehicle. The driver was trapped in the van and did not survive. The passenger managed to force his way out and was floundering in the water, where there was a relatively strong incoming tidal flow that was taking him away from the bridge further into the harbour. Constable Dean O’Connor was the first Police unit to arrive at the scene. He assessed the situation and stripped down to his underwear, jumped into the harbour, and swam out approximately 150 metres to the passenger who was extremely distressed and panicked. Constable O’Connor grabbed the passenger and rolled him onto his back, supporting him on his chest and communicated with him to calm him down. Constable O’Connor then towed the passenger, rescue fashion, for some 40 minutes in the dark to the opposite shoreline. Both men suffered from hypothermia and were taken to hospital for treatment. Constable O’Connor placed himself at risk to provide assistance to the passenger, who given the conditions would have been unlikely to rescue himself.

George Puturangi PAEKAU

Citation

On the morning of 9 November 2014 a fire ignited in a house in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale. The house was occupied by a mother and three of her four children, who were aged between 3 and 16 years, the oldest of whom was autistic.

Mr George Paekau was driving towards his home when he saw smoke billowing from what he thought was his property. When he got closer he realised that it was from the neighbouring house belonging to his cousin. With part of the house engulfed in flames he joined other members of the public in attempting to locate the house’s occupants. Mr Paekau and the others found a bedroom window ajar at the rear of the property. They heard the voice of one of the children in the room, which was filled with heavy smoke. Mr Paekau then grabbed a length of pipe and smashed the bedroom’s window. Flames roared into the room, but some of the smoke also cleared. Mr Paekau saw two of the children in the room, a younger child on the floor next to the window, and the older youth on the bed. He leaned over the smashed window sill and picked up the child on the floor, passing him to the other men outside.

Mr Paekau then covered his face with a t-shirt and jumped into the room, where he shut the bedroom door, helping to slow the fire’s spread. The room was still filled with thick smoke and intense heat. One of the other men climbed just inside the window and sprayed a garden hose into the room. Mr Paekau picked up the older youth from the bed, but he was too big to lift out of the broken window. The other men outside the house then entered the room and four men together assisted the older youth through the window. Mr Paekau was then assisted from the house through the broken window, at which point the Fire Service arrived and began searching for the mother and youngest child. The mother was located and survived with serious injuries, but the 3-year old died at the scene.

Mr Paekau’s selfless actions and his initiative in closing the bedroom door to slow the spread of the fire allowed the men time to rescue the older youth.

Dr David Gwyther RICHARDS, MStJ

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the multi-storey CTV building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts.

Dr David Richards had been treating casualties at a medical tent in Latimer Square before moving to the CTV building to provide onsite medical assistance to trapped survivors. Firefighters had tunnelled into the fourth floor of the collapsed CTV building and located a group of trapped students. Dr Richards was asked if he would enter the tunnel to assess the students’ injuries. The tunnel had been cleared by Fire Service personnel, but was not wide enough to fit two people side by side and rescuers had to crawl on their stomachs in the tight space. Smoke from the fire onsite was also present in the tunnel. Dr Richards made a number of trips in and out of the tunnel, wearing only hospital scrubs, over the course of several hours to assess three of the trapped students and provide medication where needed. During the efforts to extract the second student significant aftershocks saw Dr Richards and Fire Service personnel pulled from the tunnel by their feet on two occasions. Dr Richards’ medical assistance aided in rescue efforts which were carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

James Nicholas WATKINS, MStJ

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts.

Mr James Watkins, a St John Paramedic, joined Fire Service and St John personnel at the CTV building to help rescue trapped survivors. Fire Service personnel were tunnelling into the collapsed building to reach a group of trapped students. The tunnel had been cleared by Fire Service personnel, but was not wide enough to fit two people side by side and rescuers had to crawl on their stomachs in the tight space. Smoke from the fire onsite was also present in the tunnel. Mr Watkins initially worked outside to drag the firefighters working in the tunnel back out by their ankles when significant aftershocks struck. He then made trips in and out of the tunnel to assist a doctor who was running IV lines to the trapped survivors, and to pass medication to the doctor to administrate to the trapped persons. Mr Watkins contributed medical support to rescue efforts carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Dated this 1st day of August 2016

MICHAEL WEBSTER, Clerk of the Executive Council.