The collapsed Pyne Gould Corporation building.
In the aftermath of the devastating February 2011
Canterbury earthquakes, remarkable feats of bravery emerged.
Today, 27 people will be honoured with New Zealand Bravery
Awards for their role in the rescue efforts, carried out amid
the shock and confusion of the first 24 hours after the
magnitude 6.3 earthquake.
Five police officers, 18 firefighters, two doctors, a Navy
Lieutenant Commander, and a local businessman have all been
recognised for their extraordinary feats of bravery.
Christchurch anaesthetist Dr Bryce Curran and Australian
urologist Dr Lydia Johns-Putra have been awarded New Zealand
Bravery Decorations for an act of exceptional bravery in a
situation of danger for their part in the rescue of Brian
When they discovered Mr Coker, he was in danger of bleeding
to death with his legs pinned between a concrete pillar and a
collapsed floor section of the Pyne Gould Corporation
building, in which 18 people died. In a cramped and unsteady
space, the doctors and emergency services personnel carried
out a double amputation and saved Mr Coker's life.
Dr Curran described the ordeal as an "intense experience".
"There isn't really a rulebook for what to do in that
situation. It's really just a matter of coming up with a
plan, sticking to it and making use of what's available.
"It wasn't a nice place to be. The most threatening bit was
to do the surgery. Lydia and myself had to crawl basically
beneath a collapsed beam, which was quite a tight squeeze,"
Dr Curran said.
Firefighter Scott Shadbolt and then-Senior Constable Danny
Johanson supported the doctors, helping with the hacksaw to
complete the operation. Both received bravery medals.
"Brian is very lucky that there were four people with
individual separate skills who were willing to say 'yes' ...
rather than just leaving him to die," said Dr Curran.
A posthumous medal was awarded to station officer Alan
Butcher for his work in charge of the first firefighters to
arrive at the Canterbury Television building, where 115
The other 22 people to receive a medal were Stephen Acton,
Michael Brooklands, Luke Burgess, Kevin Carr, Shane Cole,
Shane Cowles, Kevin Crozier, Richard Green, Terrence Gyde,
Craig Jackson, Michael Kneebone, Joshua Kumbaroff, Daniel
Lee, Michael Lennard, Simon Payton, Richard Platt, Paul
Rodwell, Steven Smylie, Cory Stewart, Anthony Tamakehu, Mark
Whittaker and Michael Yeates.
• To nominate someone for a New Zealand Bravery Award, visit
New Zealand Bravery Awards
• Recognise the rescue efforts following the deadly
Christchurch earthquake in 2011.
• Two people are receiving the New Zealand Bravery Decoration
for acts of exceptional bravery.
• 25 people are receiving a New Zealand Bravery Medal for
• Recipients were selected from nominations received by the
honours unit after the Christchurch quakes.
• Today's awards were able to be issued because the relevant
court proceedings coroners' inquests and other related
inquiries have been completed.