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Media Release: Outstanding bravery recognised

Issue date: 
Thursday, 25 September 2008

An Auckland man who came to the aid of a neighbour who was being stabbed is to receive one of New Zealands' highest awards for bravery at an investiture ceremony at Government House Auckland tomorrow (26 September 2008).

Among many other recipients receiving awards in the recent Queens' Birthday and New Years' Honours lists, Governor-General, Hon Anand Satyanand, will award the New Zealand Bravery Star to Taufui Aevalu Paea of Glenfield.  The ceremony begins at 10.30am and media wanting to attend need to contact Antony Paltridge on 021 470 583 by 9am on 26 September 2008 to gain accreditation.

The New Zealand Bravery Star is awarded for "acts of outstanding bravery in situations of danger" and Mr Paea is one of only nine New Zealanders to receive the award since it was instituted in 1999.  The only higher award for bravery is the New Zealand Cross.

The citation for Mr Paeas' investiture is as follows:

On the morning of 6 December 2004 in Glenfield, Auckland, Mr Paeas' neighbour was brutally murdered by her estranged partner, who had been on the run from the Police for a number of weeks.

The offender arrived at the womans' home while she was getting out of her car and helping her two year old daughter out of a car seat.  The man approached, and after talking to the woman for a short time, their conversation turned into a heated argument.  The man began to assault the woman who managed to break free, but he caught up with her and began stabbing her in the back and shoulders.  The victim managed to struggle free again and this time ran to the front door of Mr Paeas' house.

The man caught up to the victim again at Mr Paeas' front door and both of them fell through it into the hallway.  Mr Paea, aged 67, who was in the kitchen at the time, rushed into the hallway to find the man straddling the victim and stabbing her in the neck, shoulders, and stomach.  He called out to him to "stop", but was ignored.  Mr Paea then tackled him , wrapping his arms around him and trying to pull him off the victim.  The man pushed Mr Paea away causing him to fall onto the victim.  As he tried to stand up, he was stabbed in the left cheek causing a deep puncture wound that later required five stitches and a brief period of hospitalisation.

Mr Paea, wounded and in shock, managed to escape from the attackers' attentions, left the house, alerted another neighbour and asked them to call the Police.  He then returned to his home to save his wife and grandchildren, who were in the lounge.  His wife managed to pass the two children out of the window and he took them to a place of safety before returning to his home yet again to get his wife and see if he could assist the victim.

As he approached the house he met the offender, who was leaving carrying two knives.  Seeing Mr Paea coming towards him, the man jumped over a fence, ran through a neighbouring property to his car and drove away.  Mr Paea entered his home to find his wife safe, but the other woman had since died, having received some thirty stab wounds.

Although he was unsuccessful in saving the life of the victim, Mr Paea showed exceptional bravery in attempting to do so by tackling the armed offender at considerable risk to his own life.  He also displayed bravery, presence of mind and determination in alerting a neighbour to the situation and by returning to his home to ensure the safety of his wife and grandchildren and to see if he could provide any further assistance to the victim.

More information on bravery awards can be found here: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/honours/overview/bravery.html

Media wanting to attend must contact Public Affairs Officer, Antony Paltridge, on 021 470 583 no later than 9am on the day of the ceremony.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 25 September 2008

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