NZ Bravery Awards honour lifesaving actions

The CTV building after the February 2011 quake (file)
The CTV building after the February 2011 quake (file)

Five of the 11 recipients of New Zealand Bravery Awards this year are police officers.

One of the five is retired Constable Deane O'Connor, who spent 40 minutes in Tauranga Harbour in August 2013 rescuing the passenger of a van that had plummeted into the sea.

Mr O'Connor says the man helped himself to survive.

"He made it easy because, one, he didn't panic, two, he helped himself. He listened to everything I had to say as far as survival while we were out there."

Both men suffered from hypothermia and were taken to hospital for treatment.

The New Zealand Bravery Awards are given out to people for their efforts in saving people's lives.

This year's recipients include Dr David Richards, who in the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes crawled through rubble for several hours to provide medical assistance to students trapped in the CTV building.

Dr Richards says he's just thankful the police and fire crews where helping at the scene too.

"It's great to have the recognition, but I couldn't have done what I did if it hadn't been for the other people who were assisting at the scene," he says.

Dr Richards adds he did what he had to do at the time.

"I don't really think I thought too much about the fear aspect of it. I don't think what I did was particularly brave. Some people might call it foolhardy what I did, but I think it was what needed to be done at the time."

Another civilian getting an award 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.

NZN / Newshub.