Aid worker posthumously honoured

Mairi Speight and husband, David (right), with a picture of their son, Nicolas, and the Dag...
Mairi Speight and husband, David (right), with a picture of their son, Nicolas, and the Dag Hammarskjold Medal, which was awarded by Major Peter Aymes (left) on Saturday.With them are Nicolas' siblings (from back left) Jeremy Speight, Nadia Wright and Simon Speight. Photo by James Beech.
Arrowtown humanitarian aid worker Nicolas Geoffrey Speight was posthumously honoured in an informal outdoor ceremony at his parents' home on Saturday for his services to peace.

More than 20 members of the Speight family came from Wanaka, Te Anau, Palmerston and Auckland to see Major Peter Aymes, of 4 Otago and Southland Regiment present the distinguished Dag Hammarskjold Medal to Nicolas' parents, Mairi and David Speight, of Speargrass Flat.

Nicolas Speight (32), a former New Zealand Army officer, was shot and killed in Arbil, northern Iraq, on April 24, 1999.

He was working as a programme manager in a United Nations-contracted land-mine clearing operation.

David Speight said the family felt honoured to receive the award.

Not many days went by when he did not think about his son, he said.

Mairi Speight said she had mixed feelings about the medal.

Nicolas was humble and would have thought others should have been recognised for their humanitarian work before him, she said.

Of 1500 Dag Hammarskjold medals awarded worldwide to the families of civilian and military personnel who died in the service of the UN, only seven have been to New Zealanders.

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