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Kiwis honoured for acts of bravery

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/07/2016 Karen Sweeney
The site where the CTV building once stood. © Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images The site where the CTV building once stood.

Scrambling on their stomachs into the rubble of Christchurch's CTV building in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, doctors and paramedics relied on people they'd never met to drag them out again.

Doctors like Chris Henry and David Richards went in and out, delivering pain relief to those trapped inside while rescuers worked to free them.

They were conscious of the fact if the building collapsed in one of the many aftershocks that they would likely die, says Dr Henry, who along with Dr Richards and paramedic James Watkins have received bravery medals for their part in saving many lives.

The trio are among eight people to receive this year's New Zealand Bravery Medal for bravery in the face of danger.

Three others have received the New Zealand Bravery Declaration, for exceptional acts of bravery.

Reflecting on the circumstances of his award, Dr Henry said while it was harrowing and intense, there were also "amazingly positive" feelings of being able to help.

"It was the ultimate kind of intense camaraderie," he said.

"To get in you had to crawl on your belly. You couldn't get out by yourself ... everything would be shaking and someone would grab your ankles and you'd find yourself being hauled out backwards."

At one point the Kaikoura GP found himself cheek to cheek with a fireman he'd never met before, and has never seen since.

One helper he did know was Dr Richards, an emergency physician at Christchurch Hospital who said while he was honoured and humbled to be recognised he doesn't see his actions as brave.

"I didn't really consider that myself," he said.

"I was more worried for what my wife would have thought of me being in that situation, imagining she wouldn't be immensely happy about it."

Five police and three civilians make up the other award recipients.

One civilian was Chris Foot, who rushed into his neighbour's home after she came out screaming hysterically that her armed, estranged partner had broken in.

Mr Foot was desperate to protect Katherine Webb's two children, Bradley, 9, and Ellen 6, but was blocked at the door by their father, Edward Livingstone.

Mr Livingstone fired a shot at Mr Foot, who ran home to put on his boots so he could kick down the door.

But, even when he had first arrived, it was already too late. He found their bodies, still in their beds, and Mr Livingstone also dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY DECORATION RECIPIENTS

- Chris Foot

- Senior Constable Blair Spalding

- Constable Ben Turner

NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY MEDAL RECIPIENTS

- Dr Chris Henry

- Dr David Richards

- James Watkins

- Carl Jennings

- Sergeant Ryan Lilleby

- Constable Chris McDowell

- Constable Deane O'Connor

- George Paekau

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