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Special Honours List 26 October 2022 - Citations for New Zealand Bravery Awards

The New Zealand Bravery Star:

LAW, Mr Robert Mark (Mark)

Citation

On Monday 9 December 2019, at 2.11pm, an explosive volcanic eruption occurred on Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty, shooting a massive column of steam into the air and blowing a wave of hot rock, ash, and acid gas across the crater floor. 47 people were present on the island at the time of the eruption, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained. A further 25 people suffered moderate to significant injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns. Dispatch orders from the New Zealand’s Air Ambulance Service diverted rescue and paramedic helicopters to Whakatāne, as landing on the island was deemed too dangerous post eruption.

Mr Mark Law, CEO of the heavy lift and aerial support helicopter company Kāhu NZ, became aware of the eruption and learnt that a helicopter tour from Volcanic Air had been on the island at the time. Mr Law flew out to the island from Whakatāne, passing the White Island visitors boat ‘Phoenix’ halfway back to Whakatāne at 3.05pm before setting down on a landing platform around 3.12pm. Mr Law contacted another Kāhu NZ helicopter crewed by Tom Storey and Jason Hill, who had taken off from Whakatāne at 2.50pm and had hovered by the Phoenix, with the offer of airlifting the worst injured. After learning that the Phoenix would soon receive support from a coast guard boat with paramedics onboard, Mr Law radioed Hill and Storey to assist him on the island.

Mr Law, while alone, put on a gas mask and waded through shin-deep ash to locate 20 people in the crater. When Mr Storey and Mr Hill landed, Mr Law left the casualties and went to brief Storey and Hill on what he had observed.

With acidic air a present issue for the helicopter engines, the pilots left their engines on and rotors turning once landed to improve their chances of taking off again. With gas masks on, Law, Storey and Hill waded back through ash to the casualties.

The casualties were in various positions, covered in thick ash. Ash fell on the men as they moved about and the acidic air made breathing difficult. The crew moved from person to person, checking on the casualties who had extensive burns and were in various stages of consciousness. Mr Hill ran back to the landing platform and flew his helicopter up to the crater for casualties to be loaded onboard by the crew. He lifted off with the maximum of five casualties aboard his helicopter at 3.48pm. Mr Law then retrieved his helicopter and flew up to the crater while Mr Storey readied the next five casualties.

Another helicopter crew arrived on the island and assisted Mr Law and Mr Storey to lift casualties onto Law’s helicopter. Mr Law then took off with five casualties, flying to Whakatāne Hospital.

The crews had faced difficulty in loading the casualties, who had no strength to lift themselves, into the high-level doorways of the commercial helicopters, requiring a combined effort from the rescuers.

The efforts of the commercial helicopter pilots and crew resulted in 20 casualties being found on the crater floor, with 12 injured being removed by the commercial helicopters over the course of 40 minutes, and eight deceased repositioned for later recovery. Of the 12 people helicoptered out, 10 died.

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The New Zealand Bravery Decoration:

BARROW, Mr Timothy Robin (Tim)

Citation

On Monday 9 December 2019, at 2.11pm, an explosive volcanic eruption occurred on Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty, shooting a massive column of steam into the air and blowing a wave of hot rock, ash, and acid gas across the crater floor. 47 people were present on the island at the time of the eruption, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained. A further 25 people suffered moderate to significant injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns. Dispatch orders from the New Zealand’s Air Ambulance Service diverted rescue and paramedic helicopters to Whakatāne, as landing on the island was deemed too dangerous post eruption.

Mr Tim Barrow, director and chief helicopter pilot of Rotorua-based scenic flight company Volcanic Air, became aware of the eruption at 2.20pm and noted that one of his pilots had been on the island with a Volcanic Air helicopter tour at the time.

Mr Barrow and Mr Graeme Hopcroft lifted off from Rotorua at 3.05pm and contacted the pilot of a fixed wing aircraft operating in the area, who was relaying messages from Mr Mark Law of aerial support helicopter company Kāhu NZ from the crater of the island, providing an idea of what to expect when they arrived.

Mr Barrow observed his pilot’s irreparably damaged Volcanic Air helicopter as he arrived at the island.

The Kāhu NZ crew had already begun loading casualties into their helicopters. Barrow and Hopcroft touched down and made their way through the ash to assist. With acidic air a present issue for the helicopter engines, the pilots left their engines on and rotors turning once landed to improve their chances of taking off again.

The casualties were covered in thick ash, had extensive burns and were in various stages of consciousness. Ash fell on the men as they moved about and the acidic air made breathing difficult. Barrow and Hopcroft carried a man on their shoulders back to their helicopter, before returning to help casualties onto Mr Law’s helicopter. Mr Law then took off with five casualties, flying to Whakatāne Hospital.

Mr Sam Jones and Mr Callum Mill arrived on another Volcanic Air helicopter. Mr Barrow, who had one casualty onboard, repositioned his helicopter for one of the Kāhu NZ crew, Mr Hopcroft and Mr Mill to load one further injured person onboard. Mr Barrow and Mr Hopcroft then took off to Whakatāne with the two casualties.

The crews had faced difficulty in loading the casualties, who had no strength to lift themselves, into the high-level doorways of the commercial helicopters, requiring a combined effort from the rescuers.

The efforts of the commercial helicopter pilots and crew resulted in 20 casualties being found on the crater floor, with 12 injured being removed by the commercial helicopters over the course of 40 minutes, and eight deceased repositioned for later recovery. Of the 12 people helicoptered out, 10 died.

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The New Zealand Bravery Decoration:

HILL, Mr Jason William

Citation

On Monday 9 December 2019, at 2.11pm, an explosive volcanic eruption occurred on Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty, shooting a massive column of steam into the air and blowing a wave of hot rock, ash, and acid gas across the crater floor. 47 people were present on the island at the time of the eruption, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained. A further 25 people suffered moderate to significant injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns. Dispatch orders from the New Zealand’s Air Ambulance Service diverted rescue and paramedic helicopters to Whakatāne, as landing on the island was deemed too dangerous post eruption.

Mr Jason Hill and Mr Tom Storey of heavy lift and aerial support helicopter company Kāhu NZ became aware of the eruption and took off from Whakatāne at 2.50pm with the intention of assisting the injured on the island. They flew by the White Island visitors boat ‘Phoenix’ on its way back to Whakatāne. They hovered by the Phoenix, with the offer of airlifting the worst injured. After learning that the Phoenix would soon receive support from a coast guard boat with paramedics onboard, Hill and Storey were radioed by Mr Mark Law, CEO of Kāhu NZ who had flown ahead and landed on the island around 3.12pm, requesting they join him to assist on the ground.

With acidic air a present issue for the helicopter engines, the pilots left their engines on and rotors turning after landing to improve their chances of taking off again. After Mr Storey and Mr Hill had landed, Mr Law briefed them on what he had observed by scouting ahead to the crater, locating 20 casualties. With gas masks on, Law, Storey and Hill waded through shin-deep drifts of ash to the casualties.

The casualties were in various positions, covered in thick ash. Ash fell on the men as they moved about and the acidic air made breathing difficult. The crew moved from person to person, checking on the casualties who had extensive burns and were in various stages of consciousness. Mr Hill ran back to the landing platform and flew his helicopter up to the crater for casualties to be loaded onboard by the crew. He then lifted off with the maximum of five casualties aboard his helicopter at 3.48pm and flew them to Whakatāne Hospital.

The efforts of the commercial helicopter pilots and crew resulted in 20 casualties being found on the crater floor, with 12 injured being removed by the commercial helicopters over the course of 40 minutes, and eight deceased repositioned for later recovery. Of the 12 people helicoptered out, 10 died.

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The New Zealand Bravery Decoration:

HOPCROFT, Mr Graeme

Citation

On Monday 9 December 2019, at 2.11pm, an explosive volcanic eruption occurred on Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty, shooting a massive column of steam into the air and blowing a wave of hot rock, ash, and acid gas across the crater floor. 47 people were present on the island at the time of the eruption, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained. A further 25 people suffered moderate to significant injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns. Dispatch orders from the New Zealand’s Air Ambulance Service diverted rescue and paramedic helicopters to Whakatāne, as landing on the island was deemed too dangerous post eruption.

Mr Tim Barrow, director and chief helicopter pilot of Rotorua-based scenic flight company Volcanic Air, became aware of the eruption at 2.20pm. Mr Graeme Hopcroft lifted off with Mr Barrow from Rotorua at 3.05pm and contacted the pilot of a fixed wing aircraft operating in the area, who was relaying messages from Mr Mark Law of aerial support helicopter company Kāhu NZ from the crater of the island, providing an idea of what to expect when they arrived.

The Kāhu NZ crew had already begun loading casualties into their helicopters prior to the arrival of Mr Hopcroft and Mr Barrow. Hopcroft and Barrow touched down and made their way through the ash to assist. With acidic air a present issue for the helicopter engines, the pilots left their engines on and rotors turning once landed to improve their chances of taking off again.

The casualties were covered in thick ash, had extensive burns and were in various stages of consciousness. Ash fell on the men as they moved about and the acidic air made breathing difficult. Hopcroft and Barrow carried a man on their shoulders back to their helicopter, before returning to help casualties onto Mr Law’s helicopter. Mr Law then took off with five casualties, flying to Whakatāne Hospital.

Mr Sam Jones and Mr Callum Mill arrived on another Volcanic Air helicopter. Mr Barrow, who had one casualty onboard, repositioned his helicopter for Mr Hopcroft, Mr Mill, and one of the Kāhu NZ crew to load one further injured person onboard. Mr Hopcroft and Mr Barrow then took off to Whakatāne.

The crews had faced difficulty in loading the casualties, who had no strength to lift themselves, into the high-level doorways of the commercial helicopters, requiring a combined effort from the rescuers.

The efforts of the commercial helicopter pilots and crew resulted in 20 casualties being found on the crater floor, with 12 injured being removed by the commercial helicopters over the course of 40 minutes, and eight deceased repositioned for later recovery. Of the 12 people helicoptered out, 10 died.

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The New Zealand Bravery Decoration:

JONES, Mr Sam Peter

Citation

On Monday 9 December 2019, at 2.11pm, an explosive volcanic eruption occurred on Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty, shooting a massive column of steam into the air and blowing a wave of hot rock, ash, and acid gas across the crater floor. 47 people were present on the island at the time of the eruption, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained. A further 25 people suffered moderate to significant injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns. Dispatch orders from the New Zealand’s Air Ambulance Service diverted rescue and paramedic helicopters to Whakatāne, as landing on the island was deemed too dangerous post eruption.

Two helicopters from heavy lift and aerial support helicopter company Kāhu NZ had flown to the island to provide assistance to those caught in the eruption. The Kāhu NZ crew had begun loading casualties into their helicopters prior to the arrival of another helicopter from Rotorua-based scenic flight company Volcanic Air.

The combined crews of Kāhu NZ and Volcanic Air worked in shin-deep ash drifts to reach the casualties, who were covered in thick ash, had extensive burns and were in various stages of consciousness. Ash fell on the crews as they moved about and the acidic air made breathing difficult. The Kāhu NZ helicopters lifted off, each with five casualties onboard, flying to Whakatāne Hospital.

Mr Sam Jones and Mr Callum Mill arrived on the island in the last Volcanic Air helicopter. They assisted with loading an injured person into the other Volcanic Air helicopter, which then took off to Whakatāne.

With acidic air a present issue for the helicopter engines, the pilots had left their engines on and rotors turning once landed to improve their chances of taking off again. The crews had faced difficulty in loading the casualties, who had no strength to lift themselves, into the high-level doorways of the commercial helicopters, requiring a combined effort from the rescuers.

Mr Jones, Mr Mill and one of the Kāhu NZ crew stayed on the island and undertook another sweep to ensure there were no remaining survivors. They then carefully grouped the deceased closer together, with the intention of retrieving the bodies when the helicopters returned. A St John rescue helicopter arrived and a report was given of the survivors and deceased who had been located.

The efforts of the commercial helicopter pilots and crew resulted in 20 casualties being found on the crater floor, with 12 injured being removed by the commercial helicopters over the course of 40 minutes, and eight deceased repositioned for later recovery. Of the 12 people helicoptered out, 10 died.

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The New Zealand Bravery Decoration:

MILL, Mr Callum

Citation

On Monday 9 December 2019, at 2.11pm, an explosive volcanic eruption occurred on Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty, shooting a massive column of steam into the air and blowing a wave of hot rock, ash, and acid gas across the crater floor. 47 people were present on the island at the time of the eruption, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained. A further 25 people suffered moderate to significant injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns. Dispatch orders from the New Zealand’s Air Ambulance Service diverted rescue and paramedic helicopters to Whakatāne, as landing on the island was deemed too dangerous post eruption.

Two helicopters from heavy lift and aerial support helicopter company Kāhu NZ had flown to the island to provide assistance to those caught in the eruption. The Kāhu NZ crew had begun loading casualties into their helicopters prior to the arrival of the first helicopter from Rotorua-based scenic flight company Volcanic Air.

The combined crews of Kāhu NZ and Volcanic Air worked in shin-deep ash drifts to reach the casualties, who were covered in thick ash, had extensive burns and were in various stages of consciousness. Ash fell on the crews as they moved about and the acidic air made breathing difficult. The Kāhu NZ helicopters lifted off, each with five casualties onboard, flying to Whakatāne Hospital.

Mr Callum Mill and Mr Sam Jones arrived on the island in the last Volcanic Air helicopter. They assisted with loading an injured person into the other Volcanic Air helicopter, which then took off to Whakatāne.

With acidic air a present issue for the helicopter engines, the pilots had left their engines on and rotors turning once landed to improve their chances of taking off again. The crews had faced difficulty in loading the casualties, who had no strength to lift themselves, into the high-level doorways of the commercial helicopters, requiring a combined effort from the rescuers.

Mr Mill, Mr Jones and one of the Kāhu NZ crew stayed on the island and undertook another sweep to ensure there were no remaining survivors. They then carefully grouped the deceased closer together, with the intention of retrieving the bodies when the helicopters returned. A St John rescue helicopter arrived and a report was given of the survivors and deceased who had been located.

The efforts of the commercial helicopter pilots and crew resulted in 20 casualties being found on the crater floor, with 12 injured being removed by the commercial helicopters over the course of 40 minutes, and eight deceased repositioned for later recovery. Of the 12 people helicoptered out, 10 died.

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The New Zealand Bravery Decoration:

STOREY, Mr Thomas Sandford (Tom)

Citation

On Monday 9 December 2019, at 2.11pm, an explosive volcanic eruption occurred on Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty, shooting a massive column of steam into the air and blowing a wave of hot rock, ash, and acid gas across the crater floor. 47 people were present on the island at the time of the eruption, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained. A further 25 people suffered moderate to significant injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns. Dispatch orders from the New Zealand’s Air Ambulance Service diverted rescue and paramedic helicopters to Whakatāne, as landing on the island was deemed too dangerous post eruption.

Mr Tom Storey and Mr Jason Hill of heavy lift and aerial support helicopter company Kāhu NZ became aware of the eruption and took off from Whakatāne at 2.50pm with the intention of assisting the injured on the island. They flew by the White Island visitors boat ‘Phoenix’ on its way back to Whakatāne. They hovered by the Phoenix, with the offer of airlifting the worst injured. After learning that the Phoenix would soon receive support from a coast guard boat with paramedics onboard, Storey and Hill were radioed by Mr Mark Law, CEO of Kāhu NZ who had flown ahead and landed on the island around 3.12pm, requesting they join him to assist on the ground.

With acidic air a present issue for the helicopter engines, the pilots left their engines on and rotors turning after landing to improve their chances of taking off again. After Mr Storey and Mr Hill had landed, Mr Law briefed them on what he had observed by scouting ahead to the crater, locating 20 casualties. With gas masks on, Storey, Law and Hill waded through shin-deep drifts of ash to the casualties.

The casualties were in various positions, covered in thick ash. Ash fell on the men as they moved about and the acidic air made breathing difficult. The crew moved from person to person, checking on the casualties who had extensive burns and were in various stages of consciousness. Mr Storey and Mr Law loaded casualties onto Mr Hill’s helicopter, who departed for Whakatāne.

Mr Law then retrieved his helicopter and flew up to the crater while Mr Storey readied the next five casualties. Mr Storey picked up a young woman, who died before he reached the helicopter with her.

As Mr Law and Mr Storey were lifting casualties onto Law’s helicopter, two helicopters from the Rotorua-based scenic flight company Volcanic Air landed on the island and the four crew made their way through the ash to assist. Mr Law then took off with five casualties, flying to Whakatāne Hospital.

One of the Volcanic Air helicopters, which had one casualty onboard, was repositioned for Mr Storey and two other crew to load one further injured person onboard, before taking off to Whakatāne.

The crews had faced difficulty in loading the casualties, who had no strength to lift themselves, into the high-level doorways of the commercial helicopters, requiring a combined effort from the rescuers.

Mr Storey, and two Volcanic Air crew stayed on the island and undertook another sweep to ensure there were no remaining survivors. They then carefully grouped the deceased closer together, with the intention of retrieving the bodies when the helicopters returned. Wherever they found phones, Mr Storey placed them with the deceased to help with identification. A rescue helicopter with St John personnel eventually arrived and a report was given of the survivors and deceased who had been located.

The efforts of the commercial helicopter pilots and crew resulted in 20 casualties being found on the crater floor, with 12 injured being removed by the commercial helicopters over the course of 40 minutes, and eight deceased repositioned for later recovery. Of the 12 people helicoptered out, 10 died.

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The New Zealand Bravery Medal:

MARVIN, Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael Anthony

New Zealand Defence Force

Citation

Acting Warrant Officer Class Two Marvin, then a Staff Sergeant, was conducting the role of safety supervisor during a grenade throwing practice at the New Zealand Defence Force Raumai Range on 18 June 2020, to re-qualify soldiers on the operation of the hand grenade.

During this activity, Acting Warrant Officer Class Two Marvin stood opposite the soldiers being requalified, observing their drills and handling of the grenades in removing the pin, throwing action and ensuring the thrower assumed a position behind the range safety barricade prior to detonation.

Acting Warrant Officer Class Two Marvin carried out his checks of a junior soldier who approached to carry out their grenade throwing drill. He asked the soldier to confirm their intended target on the range. With checks completed, he instructed the soldier to throw the grenade. The soldier removed the pin, took a throwing stance and released the grenade in a misthrow. The grenade landed dangerously close to the thrower at a distance of no more than 1.5 metres and did not clear the natural rise that afforded the area of cover and safety during detonation.

Acting Warrant Officer Class Two Marvin immediately reacted realising that the grenade had not cleared the top of the mound. He yelled “drop grenade” and tackled the soldier rearward into a small depression in the ground around one metre below and approximately four metres away from the grenade, smothering the soldier with his body, thereby providing a shield from the blast. In the process he received fragmentation blast injuries from eight ball bearings to his lower body.

Unaware of his injuries, Acting Warrant Officer Class Two Marvin immediately stood up to check on the soldier and began to conduct a primary injury assessment following detonation of the grenade. The soldier was in obvious pain, having received an injury to the leg from a ball bearing.

While Acting Warrant Officer Class Two Marvin was trained and prepared to act as a safety supervisor, an anomalous occurrence in a routine training activity presented a real and immediate danger, to which he responded swiftly, putting his own safety at risk to prevent the loss of life or significant injury to the junior soldier.

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Last updated: 
Wednesday, 26 October 2022

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