Former director, long-serving heroes celebrated at Emergency Management Awards

A former Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management and a cadet-turned controller who has served his community for 50 years were among those recognised by Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi at an award ceremony in Wellington tonight.

“Tonight is about acknowledging and celebrating those who have made a vital contribution to Civil Defence Emergency Management in New Zealand,” Kris Faafoi said.

“Emergency Management attracts some truly committed and gifted people, and tonight’s recipients are just a small sample of the dedication we see out there every day.

“Each one of them has set an excellent example for those who follow, and deserve recognition at the national level.

“Through their efforts, they have strengthened their communities and made New Zealand more resilient. I also want to acknowledge the families of these long service award recipients for the sacrifices they have made by supporting their loved ones to respond to many emergencies over the years.

“I know my colleague Kiri Allan, who wanted to be here tonight, would have echoed those sentiments.”

The awards pay tribute to a number of dedicated individuals whose service to Civil Defence Emergency Management spans decades.

“Among the long service award winners is Bernard (Bernie) Harr, who started at the Gore Borough Council as a cadet within the Infrastructure/Asset team in 1971, ultimately shifting to Mackenzie District Council in 2002 and becoming Controller.

“Bernie is a legend. He has provided a steady hand to the Council, participating in training, exercises and mentoring new staff. Despite his impending retirement Bernie has no desire to step away from civil defence, intending to retain his involvement in a volunteer capacity,” Kris Faafoi said.

Also recognised

  • For 40 years of service: Paul Hawke (Hawke’s Bay), Janine Hawthorne (Manawatu-Wanganui)
  • For 30 years of service: Bryan Craig, Duane Gorst (Auckland);  Peter Brownbridge, Peter McCarthy, Phillip Martelli, Melvern Wainwright, Craig Winters (Bay of Plenty ); Lesley Harrison, Peter Ide, Lois Watson (Hawke’s Bay); Christine Wisnewski (Manawatu-Wanganui); Graham Ferguson (Wellington) Michael Nixon, Christine Tatterson (Canterbury)
  • For 20 years of service: Gregory Phillips, Graeme Tilsley, Kane Turner (Auckland) Eric Newman (Bay of Plenty); Sandra Bee (Hawke’s Bay), Shane Briggs, Elizabeth Smith (Wellington); Lynda Burdekin, Tim Chiswell, Geoff Olds (Canterbury)

“Former Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black is being recognised with a Ministerial Award for helping steer the country through some incredibly traumatic times,” Kris Faafoi said.

“Sarah played a leading role in the 2016 Kaikōura/Hurunui earthquake, 2017 Edgecumbe floods, 2019 Christchurch Mosque shooting, 2019 Whakaari White Island eruption, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Another member of the emergency management sector, Hugh Vercoe, received recognition for outstanding leadership and governance, for over 22 years within Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.