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2011 Special Honours list

Published: 6:43AM Saturday April 02, 2011 Source: ONE News

New Zealand Bravery Star (NZBS) - for acts of outstanding bravery in situations of danger


Michael John Burne, Paul Anthony Symonds and Dennis Michael Hurworth - AOS members, Napier Siege, 2009

AOS members constable Michael Burne and senior constables Paul Symonds and Dennis Hurworth were recognised with an NZBS after their actions when they arrived at the scene of the siege on Chaucer Road in Napier in 2009.

The first to arrive, all three were intent on finding and evacuating the victims of Jan Molenaar's shooting rampage, and willingly put themselves in his line of fire to do so.

They found constable Len Snee, who was killed by Molenaar and located nearby civilian Leonard Holmwood, who had been shot.

Aware of the dangers that faced them, they ventured further down Chaucer Road searching for another police officer in the area.

During the ordeal the trio were shot at numerous times.

Leonard Rex Holmwood - Civilian, Napier Siege, 2009

Leonard Holmwood was responsible for attempting to disarm Jan Molenaar, and in doing so allowed nearby police officers to move to a position of relative safety.

Holmwood had confronted Molenaar as he fired at the officers, attempting to turn the shooter's rifle away from his intended targets.

Molenaar overpowered Holmwood then shot him in the hip, inflicting a serious injury.

Even when wounded, Holmwood attempted to provide assistance to another wounded police officer nearby.

Timothy Nigel Smith - Police officer, Napier Siege, 2009

Detective Sergeant Timothy Smith was one of the first police officers to arrive at the scene of the Napier Siege in 2009.

Unarmed, he advanced into the scene and ordered two civilians to evacuate. He proceeded to use one of the civilian's cars to  provide cover and a getaway vehicle for the injured senior constable Bruce Miller.

The car was shot at and hit by Molenaar during the rescue.

After evacuating Miller, Smith returned to the scene of the siege and assisted in stretchering the injured senior constable Grant Diver from the area.

"Smith played a prominent role in the recovery of two seriously wounded police officers... Without his outstanding contribution, the outcome for the wounded officers might have been different," the citation said.

Austin Bernard Hemmings (posthumous) - Good Samaritan stabbing, 2009

"Good Samaritan" Austin Hemmings was awarded a posthumous NZBS after died attempting to help a woman being threatened by a man wielding a knife in Auckland.

Hemmings saw her attacker and placed himself between the pair, in spite of threats to his own life. He urged the woman to run while protecting her.

The attacker then turned his knife on Hemmings, stabbing him in the chest. He managed to stagger 100 metres before collapsing and dying. The woman escaped.

"He deliberately put himself in danger and continued to protect... until he believed she had reached a place of safety. This outstandingly brave decision ultimately cost him his life," the citation said.

Anthony (Tony) McClean (posthumous), Anthony Walter Mulder (posthumous) - Elim Christian College canyon tragedy, 2008

Tony McClean and Anthony Mulder, two victims of the Elim Christian College canyoning tragedy, also received a NZBS.

McLean, a teacher, and Mulder, a 16-year-old student, died when they were swept down the Mangatepopo Gorge river in April 2008 during a school camp expedition at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre (OPC).

They were tied to other students in an attempt to pull them safely from the water.

"Throughout this ordeal, Tony McClean has remained a tower of strength," the award citation says.

"Both he and Anthony Mulder were competent swimmers and would have stood a much better chance of survival if they had attempted the stream on their own.

"Nevertheless, they did not hesitate in agreeing to this part of the plan and, in acts of outstanding bravery, selflessly accompanied their friends into the torrent."


New Zealand Bravery Decoration (NZBD) - for acts of exceptional bravery in situations of danger


Heath Courtenay Jones, Anthony James Miller and Kevin Lawrence Rooney - Police officers, Napier Siege, 2009

Heath Jones, Anthony Miller and Kevin Rooney were some of the first police officers to arrive at the scene of the Napier Siege in May, 2009.

Sergeant Jones was one of several officers involved in the protection of injured officer Bruce Miller, who lay shot near Jan Molenaar's position. He provided rifle cover so other officers could evacuate Miller. Jones then helped to assist senior constable Grant Diver to safety.

Senior sergeant Miller is credited with playing a crucial role in evacuating the injured officer Bruce Miller from his position near Jan Molenaar's. He assisted in Miller's evacuation before going back to help remove Grant Diver from where he lay.

Constable Rooney was responsible for locating the injured officer Bruce Miller and covering him with his own body to shield him from further injury. He then assisted in evacuating Miller from the scene.

Anthony Frederick Ronald Millsom - Whenuapai aircraft crash, 2008

On April 26, 2008, Anthony Millsom, then a Wing Commander serving in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, risked his life to save the occupant of an aircraft that crashed at Whenuapai Air Base.

The aircraft was engulfed in flames, which Millsom tried to put out before realising there was someone inside.

He then moved towards the aircraft and managed to grab the victim's belt and pull him from the blaze, sustaining burns on his hands and face as he did so.

However the risk of an explosion from a nearby liquid oxygen store forced Millsom to retire from the scene.

"He acted selflessly, and with great courage and persistence, not knowing if the person he was attempting to rescue was alive or dead," the citation said.

James Alexander Muir - Police chase shooting, 2007

Constable Muir was shot at while pursuing a vehicle near Mt Maunganui. It's occupants were two 14-year-olds who had escaped from a Child, Youth and Family bush programme.

He continued the chase and blocked another officer from getting shot by pulling his car up next to the offenders' after their vehicle's tyres were spiked.

He stayed calm even at risk of being shot, and the offenders were eventually apprehended after their rifle stopped working.

Mervyn Raymond Neil - Tamahere cool store fire, 2008

On April 5, 2008, Mervyn Neil was one of several fire crews who attended a fire at a cool store complex in Tamahere.

Immediately after the crews entered the store there was a massive explosion, killing one officer and severely injuring seven others.

Neil suffered the worst of the injuries, receiving burns to 73% of his body.

He nevertheless took charge of the situation and led people away from the danger zone. he did not leave the scene until 40 minutes after the explosion and subsequently spent 10 weeks in a coma.

Michael Ross O'Leary - Taupo car explosion, 2009

Inspector O'Leary was off-duty when he became the first person on the scene of a horrific car accident north of Taupo.

A van carrying six people crashed head on with a car then flipped, rolled down an embankment and burst into flames.

O'Leary instructed his son Conor to wave down approaching traffic while he checked on both vehicles' occupants.

He saved one children from the van then a second child with the help of his son and another motorist before the flames made it impossible to get to.

O'Leary sustained burns to himself and risked being caught in another explosion.


New Zealand Bravey Medal (NZBM) - for acts of bravery

Peter Winston Booth - Taupo car explosion, 2009

Peter Booth also assisted in saving a child from the Taupo car crash and explosion in 2009.

He attempted first to use a fire extinguisher to douse the flames of the van, before rushing to assist Michael O'Leary in saving a child from the engulfed vehicle.

He did so even with the ever-present danger of the fire engulfing him as well.

Paul Buckley and Bradley James Clark  - Police officers, Napier Siege, 2009

Detective Buckley was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene on the Napier Siege in 2009. He and senior constable Bradley Clark moved to drag injured civilian Leonard Holmwood to a place of safety.

They did so while only metres from shooter Jan Molenaar's house, and administered first aid to Holmwood's injuries.

Their actions may have saved Holmwood's life.

James Iain Christie - Mount Ruapehu eruption, 2007

James Christie and his climbing partner, William Pike, were asleep at the Dome Shelter near the summit of Mount Ruapehu when it erupted in September 2007.

Covered in debris, Christie went to the aid of Pike who was half buried. He attempted to pull rocks away from Pike's body while attempting to keep him conscious.

Unable to free Pike, Christie proceeded down the mountain to get help in freezing temperatures.

His decision resulted in both men surviving the ordeal.

Nicholas John Clere - Napier Siege, 2009

Detective sergeant Clere took command of the police and Armed Offenders Squad during the Napier Siege in 2009.

He formulated plans to ensure the retrieval of wounded officer Grant Diver and supplied cover as he was evacuated, greatly increasing Diver's chance of survival.

Nicolas Warren Corley - Auckland car fire, 2008

In August 2008 constable Corley pulled the driver of wrecked vehicle from his flame-engulfed car, completely ablaze after crashing in Oranga.

Corley's "bravery and quick action in pulling the trapped driver from the wreckage at the risk of his own life saved the driver's life," the citation said.

Grant Wayne Exeter - Pongaroa River crash, 2008

Grant Exeter risked his life diving into the freezing waters of the flooded Pongaroa/Pahiatua Rivers to save the occupant of a car that plunged into it.

He risked drowning or serious injury to do so.

Donald Garry Fraser and Christine Margaret Jackman - civilians, Napier Siege, 2009

Donald Fraser and Christine Jackman were both involved in the Napier Siege in May 2009.

Jackman informed Fraser of the shooting, who, going back to help, discovered injured officer Bruce Miller and informed police.

Both were forced to seek cover as gunman Jan Molenaar fired shots from his house - believed to be directed at them.

Jackman saw other police officers nearby and alerted them to the situation, before Fraser's car was used by police to evacuate Miller from the scene.

Peter Alexander Hanne - Waioeka Gorge crash, 2008

Hanne pulled a truck driver to safety after he crashed his vehicle in the Waioeka Gorge. Hanne crawled through the wreckage of the truck, which was at risk of collapsing on top of him, and pulled the trapped driver to safety.

Conor Liam O'Leary - Taupo car explosion, 2009

At just 15-years-old, Conor helped his dad to rescue a child from a burning vehicle which had crashed north of Taupo. Once the child was freed, Conor looked after him and tended to his injuries until an emergency vehicle arrived.

Stephen James Smith - Napier Siege, 2009

Smith, a paramedic, was called to the scene of the Napier siege where he was a member of an evacuation team tasked with getting Constable Grant Diver, who had been shot by gunman Jan Molenaar, to safety. Once brought to safety, Smith provided Diver with further treatment.

Mark Taylor - HMNZS Canterbury accident, 2007

Taylor a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, lost consciousness and suffered water to the lungs trying to rescue a trapped sailor who was in a harness attached to an inflatable boat which capsized.

New Zealand Bravery Medal (Honorary)

Maurice Ugo Conti and Sophie Conti - Timella stranding, 2008

Maurice and Sophie Conti, in what was described as a brilliant display of seamanship, reached a stricken crew southwest of Suva after hearing a mayday call. Some of the crew were showing signs of hypothermia. They managed to pull the sailors to safety back to their yacht.

Member of the New Zealand of Merit

Roger Murray Burton - Elim Christian College principal

Elim Christian College principal Roger Burton was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for guiding the school through the aftermath of the 2008 canyoning tragedy, which claimed seven lives.

He received considerable public acclamation for his leadership in the school and the community at the time.

Burton also personally attended the funerals of the victims and "displayed an openness and forgiveness that set a precedent by positively influencing the way others dealt with the tragedy."

In August 2008, Burton received the new Zealand Principal's Federation's Service with Distinction Award, and was named New Zealander of the year for 2008 by North and South magazine.

"His skill in managing the aftermath of this tragedy, and the pastoral care he gave to everyone affected, was an example to all," the citation said.

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