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The Royal Humane Society of New Zealand’s Gold Medal will be presented at the Christchurch Earthquake Awards at 2pm on Wednesday 22 February at North Hagley Park.
The presentation of the Gold Medal will be made by the Governor-General Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, who is the Patron of the Society, to the Mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker. The Rt Hon John Key Prime Minister will also be in attendance.
The Society’s President, Austin Forbes QC, says “This is the first Gold Medal awarded by the Society since the Wahine disaster in 1968 and so is very significant. It recognises the outstanding acts of bravery and humanity by many people who selflessly assisted others immediately following the 22 February 2011 earthquake. Many volunteers acted without regard for their own safety in frightening and dangerous situations. People put their lives at risk to help fellow workers, friends and complete strangers.”
“The Society considers that in these exceptional circumstances, these selfless acts of bravery should be recognised by the special award of a Gold Medal, to be presented to the Mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker.”
Mayor Bob Parker is honoured to accept the Gold Medal on behalf of those who put their lives at risk to assist others. He says “The awarding of the Gold Medal honours the many people who did extraordinary acts of bravery without thinking of themselves.”
The Royal Humane Society of New Zealand was established in 1898. It is an independent, charitable body which makes awards for acts of bravery or acts of humanity by people in saving or attempting to save the life of another person, particularly where there has been personal risk to the rescuer. The awards are in the form of gold, silver and bronze medals, plus various categories of certificates. The level of the award reflects the extent of the personal risk to the rescuer. Over 2,000 such awards have been made by the Society in the past 113 years.