Dame Cindy with Naomi Gedye, recipient of a Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal
On the 19th of December 2017, Naomi Gedye was having breakfast at the Vinegar Hill Camping Ground when she noticed a man driving erratically nearby, following a woman and a boy.
The man stopped his car and started arguing with the woman. Ms Gedye approached the passenger side of the car in an attempt to reason with him. He was angry and agitated, and pointed a firearm at her.
Ms Gedye engaged him in conversation and eventually persuaded him to remove the magazine from the firearm. When he placed it on the passenger seat, she took the opportunity to pick it up. He got out of his car, demanding she return the magazine, and threatened to shoot her.
Ms Gedye threw the magazine away, but the man located it and returned to his car. He drove towards her, just stopping short of hitting her.
The armed man later took six people, including Ms Gedye, hostage in a camper van. Following negotiations, four of the hostage group were released. He then positioned himself behind the remaining two hostages: the owner of the camper van, who was driving, and Ms Gedye.
When the Police arrived, the gunman was momentarily distracted. Ms Gedye and the driver opened their doors and jumped from the moving camper van.
The Police took control of the situation, and the gunman was subsequently arrested and taken into custody.
Naomi Gedye displayed considerable courage, initiative and compassion in coming to the aid of a mother and her son.
She was particularly courageous in confronting an armed man, engaging in conversation with him and trying to dispose of the firearm’s magazine.
Her initiative and bravery during the hostage situation resulted in the safe release of four hostages, the escape of the driver and herself, and the arrest of the gunman.