Gold and Silver Award recipients

Gold awards are presented for outstanding contributions to CDEM in New Zealand. Silver awards are presented for significant contributions to CDEM in New Zealand.

2018 recipients

Gold Ministerial Award for Significant Contribution

David Coetzee

David Coetzee has made an invaluable contribution to CDEM by championing the successful implementation of the Emergency Mobile Alert system in New Zealand.

The ability to effectively alert the public of impending emergencies is a challenge that is widely acknowledged. Internationally, this need was highlighted by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Australian bushfires of 2009. New Zealand has been no different in exploring the available telecommunications options to issue fast alerts to people in at-risk areas.

For more than a decade, David passionately spearheaded the drive for such a solution.

David’s efforts culminated in the completion and approval of an Indicative Business Case, followed by a Detailed Business Case. In parallel, a budget bid was prepared to support the implementation and ongoing costs of the Cell Broadcasting service. Mobile operators and partner agencies were brought into the fray, and Public Alerting, as it was referred to at the time, was put out to market.

David led this, all the while performing his busy duties as the Manager of Capability & Operations, the National Controller, and dealing with many emergencies along the way. He worked nights and weekends to ensure the milestones of the business process were met, the partners were engaged and the issues were managed.

The earthquakes and tsunamis at East Cape and Kaikōura in the latter part of 2016 continued to throw the spotlight on the need for public alerting, and the Government responded by releasing funds for the project but to be delivered in half the time. A dedicated project team was now on the job. Little more than one year after the Kaikōura earthquake, a successful nationwide test of Cell Broadcasting, now called Emergency Mobile Alerts, made New Zealanders aware that an important new tool could now keep them informed and safe.

David Coetzee has worked tirelessly to turn the dream into a vision, the vision into a plan, and the plan into reality. Many have contributed to the success of Emergency Mobile Alerts, but it is his dedication and professionalism that has been the constant feature. CDEM and the people of New Zealand are indebted his great public service and significant contribution to emergency management.


Silver Ministerial Award for Significant Contribution

Derek Phyn

Derek Phyn, a Geographic Information System (GIS) Analyst with Waikato Regional Council, has made a significant contribution to CDEM through his efforts in promoting the use of GIS in emergency management.  Working alongside Paul Doherty from Eagle Technologies, Derek realised that the full potential of GIS in emergency use, as demonstrated by Paul, could not be realised without a coordinated approach across the entire country.  Derek took on the enormous task of promoting and leading a forum from which grass roots innovation could be harnessed from engaged GIS experts from councils and other partnering agencies in CDEM.  This forum became known as the New Zealand GIS for Emergency Management (NZGIS4EM) Community and currently stands at about 250 members.

Promoting the importance of Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS), Derek garnered buy-in and enthusiasm for the application of GIS in the emergency environment and the need for common data standards and interoperability.  Though still on the journey, the NZGIS4EM Community is fast becoming the nation’s powerhouse of grass roots innovation and collaboration, moving GIS application in New Zealand to previously unseen levels.  This huge step forward is, in no small part, due to the tireless efforts on behalf of Derek to bring together the leading edge innovation of Paul Doherty and the grass-roots desire of the GIS practitioners to utilise their technology in the best way possible.

Derek has also promoted the integration of GIS to end users, presenting to such groups as the National Welfare Forum and Lifeline Forum to explain both the potential of GIS and how important it is to share the necessary data to enhance its application further.  His efforts have led to a growing number of data holders championing the cause with their own organisations.

Derek has also applied his own skills to enhance or support CDEM response in his own and neighbouring regions through GIS.  This includes developing a common regional mapping portal across Waikato and Bay of Plenty; building and launching intelligence tools to assist with situational awareness and public information sharing; and assisting remotely with community coordination during the January 2018 Firth of Thames inundation event and Cyclone Gita. 

In the words of the Waikato Group Controller, “Derek’s efforts and passion for building situational awareness through GIS has jumped us ahead further than we could have ever had hoped for.  His actions directly support our response capability probably more than any other single improvement to date.”


Paul Doherty

Paul arrived in New Zealand in mid-2016 to work for Eagle Technology Ltd as a Senior Geographic Information System (GIS) Consultant. He was initially tasked with helping Bay of Plenty Lifelines Group identify their critical and vulnerable assets using geospatial tools.

The trajectory of Paul’s work changed as he moved on to assisting BoP GIS plan, preparing for Exercise Tangaroa and helping Pacific Island nations establish their initial online GIS capability for emergency management. Then the 14 November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake and tsunami happened. Many testimonials submitted with his nomination for this award provide examples of Paul’s contribution in that emergency.

Paul was deployed to the Bay of Plenty to assist with intelligence for ex-Cyclones Debbie and Cook and also put in immense personal effort to assist remotely with those agencies using GIS for the Port Hills Fires, the Otago/Canterbury floods and Cyclones Fehi and Gita. The feedback from all of those who worked with Paul is universally positive; helpful, genuine, polite, pro-active, innovative, hard-working, selfless, patient, valuable.

Further, Paul has proven nothing but altruistic in his advice and guidance; and he has never put commercial interests first. He was here to promote innovation and best practice for GIS in Emergency Management, regardless of who you worked for or what tools you used.

What Paul has done for the New Zealand GIS and Emergency Management sectors is cause a paradigm shift in thinking around not just intelligence, but how GIS can be a game changer for all aspects of emergency management. The tools he has introduced can provide a common operational picture in real-time. Something that is critical in today’s fast paced world of intelligence and public information management.

Paul initiated the New Zealand GIS for Emergency Management (NZGIS4EM) community by convincing Eagle Technology to host several free workshops around the country. These workshops sparked relationships between like-minded GIS and Emergency Management professionals, broke down barriers, and exploded into a strong, pro-active, collaborative community of more than 250 members from a range of sectors around the country.

Significantly, there has been a change in mind-set. There has been a shift from not even thinking about mapping before or during emergencies, or at best getting a couple of small paper maps up on the wall, to realising that GIS and its practitioners can provide many key aspects of a common operational picture for emergency management in real-time. This is thanks to the collaboration of the NZGIS4EM Community, and recognition of the importance of data standards in this area and the promotion of interoperability by the private sector. Most importantly this is all thanks to the innovation, vision, leadership, inspiration and sheer hard work of Paul Doherty.


Claire Nyberg

Claire Nyberg has made a positive and lasting contribution to the local, regional and national Welfare arrangements within the CDEM community over the past 2 years. In her role as the Northland Welfare Coordination Group chair Claire identified the opportunity to enhance and develop a sector-driven work program, developing practical tolls that assist all CDEM Groups with implementation of the reviewed Welfare Director's Guideline.

Claire developed, led and coordinated the Welfare Practical Tools project over the two-year period that it has been funded by the national resilience fund. This project worked across multiple CDEM Groups and in partnership with numerous agencies. The outcomes of this project will enhance the capability of the Welfare sector in preparing for and responding to any emergency.

During this time Claire has become the "go to" person for welfare advice, guidance and expertise. She was deployed to Edgecumbe as a Welfare Manager; has been the lead in developing and teaching the Welfare Supervisors training across the sector and has developed a reputation as a specialist in the Welfare field.

Claire's contribution to CDEM over the past two years is notable for her perseverance to ensure that the best possible tools are available to the Welfare Sector and for her exceptional dedication and commitment.


John Clarke

John was the local controller for the Waikohu Council from 1983-1989.

Cyclone Bola in 1988 had a huge impact on the Tairawhiti Area and John was involved with the Civil Defence response and recovery of the Waikohu Council area while his farm and home were severely impacted leaving Barbara and his family to deal with the clean-up.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Bola as County Chairman John was involved in advocating on the Waikohu areas behalf for resources to assist recovery to infrastructure and private dwellings.

In 1989 Waikohu Council amalgamated with other rural councils to form the Gisborne District Council. John was the Mayor of Gisborne from 1989 – 2001. In 2002 John took over as the Group Recovery Manager and Alternate Group Controller. He is still involved with CDEM in these positions today, acting as controller for Controller for a number of events including the Te Araroa Earthquake in 2015 and Kaikōura earthquake 2016.

John has been Recovery Manager for three significant flood events and the Gisborne earthquake in 2007.

John’s sound common sense, experience, knowledge of the district and people have made him an invaluable team member for over thirty years.

Particular recognition for Barbara should also be acknowledged for the support she has given John over the time of his involvement with CDEM and the support she has provided to affected communities when John was Mayor.



2017 Recipients

Silver Ministerial Award for Significant Contribution

Pat Dougherty

Awarded for: Leadership, contributions to the formation and success of WREMO and contributions to the CDEM Resilience Fund review panel

Adrian Patrick (Pat) Dougherty was first appointed to an Emergency Management leadership role in March 2005 when he was designated as an Alternative Group Controller by the Nelson Tasman CDEM Group; a role he held until his departure in August 2008 to become Chief Executive Officer of the Kapiti Coast District Council.

In October 2010, he was elected Chair of the Coordinating Executive Group (CEG) as part of the Wellington CDEM Group. At that time, the Group was fragmented, not only at the governance and management levels, but also within the disparate council based CDEM teams. This left the region exposed with inconsistent approaches to both readiness and response, and more importantly, confusing messages to the public. This presented a less than desirable situation for a region where many people live in one city/district and work in another.

Pat’s contribution to the resulting amalgamation and reform programme was his leadership and determination. At a time when there was little appetite for amalgamation, Pat convinced the councils of the potential that could be achieved by optimising the operational synergies between their respective staff; with each council giving up direct control for the collective benefit of the region.

This saw the various CDEM teams of the region reform as one unified organisation supporting all nine councils of the region, with a mandate to consider fresh approaches to traditional sector challenges. The resulting organisation, the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO), has been instrumental in boosting grass-roots resilience at the community level.

In addition to his work at Group level, Pat has also contributed at a national level as a member of the CDEM Resilience Fund review panel. This is a key role, providing an independent assessment of applications to the CDEM Resilience Fund. Pat was appointed when the CDEM Resilience Fund was established in 2010 and remained on the panel until 2015.


Robert Upton

Awarded for: Contributions to the Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group over the past 25 years.

 Rob was appointed as an Alternate Group Controller in 1992 and then Group Controller in 2004. Rob was Group Controller during a significant event in 2006 that required considerable coordination of the emergency services and partner agencies in the face of extreme weather that affected a wide area of South Canterbury for several weeks. Rob was one of the Group Controllers for the Christchurch earthquake response in September 2010.

The earthquake in February 2011 was a major event for Canterbury and once again Rob was the Group Controller. Following the declaration of a state of national emergency and the move to Christchurch of the National Controller, Rob assumed the appointment of Operations Director in the National Operations Centre, where he played a key role in the response.

Rob consistently demonstrated strong leadership skills as a Controller. He has a wealth of emergency management knowledge and at all times shared this with his colleagues. Rob worked hard at all times to raise the capabilities and standards of local Controllers throughout Canterbury. He organised regular training activities that covered a range of contingencies, these were well planned and very well received by those attending them. Rob has also participated in national training activities for Controllers.

In August 2011, Rob took on the appointment of Group Welfare Manager, an appointment he held until his retirement in May 2017. During this time, Rob oversaw the transition to the new national arrangements for delivering welfare during an emergency. This included the development of a new Group Welfare Plant for Canterbury. Rob’s competent chairmanship of the Group Welfare Co-ordination Group ensured this became a very effective group involving welfare agency representatives.

Rob has shown outstanding leadership as a Controller and as a welfare manager. He has at all times encouraged a practical and realistic approach to enable the sector to learn from its experiences. He has worked hard at maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders and has earned respect at both a local and national level. Rob has helped develop the professionalism of emergency management not only in Canterbury but also across New Zealand.

This Ministerial Silver Significant Contribution to CDEM Award recognises the contribution Rob has made to Canterbury CDEM Group.


David Scott (posthumous)

Awarded for: Volunteer efforts and services to communications  

David Scott passed away unexpectedly in 2015 following a battle with cancer. Dave’s passing was a tragic blow for his family and many friends in the Nelson community. It also denied the CDEM Group an opportunity to nominate Dave for an award to thank him publicly for his enormous voluntary service to civil defence emergency management over many years. This award is therefore made posthumously, in an effort to recognise the generous and talented contributions of Dave towards civil defence in his community.

Dave Scott was involved with Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (AREC) for many years and in that capacity he became a volunteer with the Nelson Tasman Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. The current CDEM Group staff are not certain when Dave’s involvement first began, but meeting minutes from the Group’s Readiness and Response Committee indicate Dave’s official presence being recorded from the early 2000’s, though it is likely he was involved in other roles from earlier dates.

From about 2005, Dave Scott became the lead advisor for emergency communications for the Nelson Tasman Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. He declined to take on a formal title, but he was effectively the ‘go to’ person for technical advice, liaison with other agencies, liaison with regional communications providers, and undertaking repair/maintenance work. Dave was paid for some of the maintenance work that he undertook for the CDEM Group, however he frequently under-quoted his time and contributed countless hours of voluntary time.

Dave represented AREC on the Readiness and Response Committee and led work to maintain and improve the regional radio communications network in Nelson City and Tasman District. In recent years Dave was a key advisor in getting some fairly big projects completed including support for a revamp of the regional emergency communications network and resolving issues with the regional repeator network. Dave was also a key advisor in establishing the communications requirement in the Group’s new Emergency Operations Centre in Richmond. Dave assisted in setting up a network of VHF radios around the region which are today staffed by volunteers and which, every Thursday, report in via a radio check run by AREC.

This Ministerial Silver Significant Contribution to CDEM Award recognises the contribution Dave made to Nelson Tasman CDEM Group over many years.


Gold Ministerial Award for Significant Contribution

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Emergency Management Group – Community Link Groups.

Awarded for: Community contributions to preparedness  

The Tairāwhiti CDEM Community Link Groups have set an excellent example on how to be prepared, take the right action at the right time, and to work as a community to look after each other. They stand out as having gone over and above expectations to respond to long or strong earthquakes that have the potential to cause a local tsunami and taking action during distant source tsunami warnings.

This award acknowledges their long term readiness built over years and support to their communities during severe weather (heavy rain, snow and cyclones). These communities have demonstrated they know the right action to take to the rest of New Zealand and have moved from awareness to true behavioural change.

The Tairāwhiti CDEM Community Link Groups were formed after Cyclone Bola. Their approach to emergency management was supported by the previous Civil Defence Emergency Manager, Richard Steele and the current CDEM Manager, Louise Bennett, and Team has maintained this momentum.

There is a high level of commitment in each community link groups, including the services provided by long-standing Area Coordinators, many who have been involved for a number of years.

Tairāwhiti CDEM Community Link Groups have been referenced multiple times in the media setting examples of model communities taking the right action for tsunami warnings. Even when the threat turns out to be small, these communities celebrate that they have done the correct thing.

This Ministerial Gold Significant Contribution to CDEM Award recognises the actions of these communities and wants to acknowledge and congratulate both their readiness and their actions in response.

2016 Recipients

CDEM Silver Award: for important contributions to CDEM in New Zealand

Lee Hazlewood

Lee Hazlewood has made an invaluable and lasting impression on the CDEM sector through his establishment and leadership of the successful Integrated Training Framework. Prior to the establishment of the Integrated Training Framework, training of New Zealand CDEM staff had been predominantly ad-hoc with no national standardisation or direction, being left to individual CDEM Groups and Territorial Authorities.

In 2012, Lee identified the need for standardised and integrated training of CDEM staff in the Waikato CDEM group to both improve the standard of training for individual staff, and to improve the interoperability of emergency operations centre staff across boundaries. Lee took the initiative to engage with neighbouring CDEM groups, and it soon became apparent that this was a common challenge faced by all.

Lee set up the Integrated Training Framework with the establishment of a steering group aimed to develop a collaborative approach to drive the standardised development and implementation of training. Lee chaired the steering group committee and continues to do so today.

Lee has put in a tremendous effort to pull together resources from across many CDEM groups, resolving differences of opinion and facilitating improved collaboration and the identification of common approaches. The process has taken a considerable amount of time which has meant that Lee has had to juggle the work of his CDEM roles and responsibilities, often at the personal sacrifice of time with his family. The Integrated Training Framework is an example of the way progress can be made when effort and resources are combined with committed support

While the Integrated Training Framework has been a success due to the contributions of all stakeholders, it would not have achieved what it has without Lee’s dedication, commitment, and drive.


David Johnston

David Johnston has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to emergency management over the past 25 years.

David was a key New Zealand contributor to the five year effort that culminated in the third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan and the follow-up New Zealand Symposium on Disaster Risk Reduction held at Te Papa, Wellington on 15 June 2015.

Linked to the Sendai process, David initiated the new Integrated Research on Disaster Risk International Centre of Excellence in Community Resilience in order to examine how communities make themselves resilient to future disasters. The benefits of the International Centre of Excellence include opportunities to highlight New Zealand research within this international network, directly inform and contribute to best practice in the Wellington Region, and help build and integrate capacity across New Zealand.

This work sits alongside 25 years of involvement in emergency management in New Zealand. David has led a range of research, training, capacity building and continuing professional development initiatives. David’s roles include Theme Leader within the Natural Hazards Research Platform, Director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research and Chair of Massey University’s Emergency Management Programme Board of Studies. David has mentored GNS and Massey staff, coordinated postgraduate papers in emergency management and supervised postgraduate students. This work is complemented by his international work as Chair of the Scientific Committee of Integrated Research on Disaster Risk from 2012-2015 and as a member of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Scientific and Technical Advisory Group from 2013-2016.

David has authored or co-authored 136 articles for leading peer-reviewed journals, co-authored over 25 book chapters and over 65 science reports. David’s scholar-practitioner reputation and peer recognition is reflected in invitations to provide expert advice to key international organisations, play leadership roles in international research initiatives and deliver keynote addresses at major national and international conferences. David’s work in the emergency management community has been, and will continue to be, immensely influential throughout New Zealand and abroad.


Murray Sinclair

Murray Sinclair has been a pivotal player in Canterbury CDEM over the last two decades, particularly in the wake of the 2010 earthquakes.

In 1996 Murray was assigned responsibility for disaster management planning for Christchurch City Council and, following a review of CDEM arrangements, was appointed as the Unit Manager, Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Murray was the Emergency Operations Centre Response Manager during the response to the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes. Murray supported Christchurch City Council staff and volunteers during this challenging time and his steadfastness, dedication, guidance and compassion during this time is an enduring memory for his team.

Murray has been a passionate supporter of CDEM volunteers. This was evidenced by the large number of volunteers in Christchurch, particularly in Welfare and Response Teams, and the significant role these volunteers undertook during the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

A dedicated advocate for CDEM, Murray has encouraged a culture of continuous improvement. He has actioned recommendations from the Review of the Earthquake Response and the MCDEM monitoring and evaluation programme to ensure Christchurch continues to model best practice.

Murray has represented Christchurch City Council throughout the planning for the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct. This project is one of the Government’s anchor projects in the city and is significant in the recovery landscape. Working with numerous stakeholders, Murray has ensured the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct has paved the way for improved coordination and collaboration between agencies, during both business and usual and response.

Murray has tirelessly encouraged risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery activities during his tenure. He has been a wealth of information and advice for Christchurch City Council and others in the region, and has willingly shared his expertise nationally and internationally.

Without Murray’s leadership Christchurch would be less safe and its people less prepared.

2014 Recipients

Silver Awards

Liz Brooker, community volunteer, Ruapehu District, for the social media communications system she developed during a local drinking water crisis.

Phil Parker, Taupō Emergency Management Officer, Waikato CDEM Group, for sustained, professional contribution to civil defence emergency management.

Langley Cavers, CE Hauraki District Council, Waikato CDEM Group, for significant contribution to enhancing the Waikato CDEM Group.

Northland CDEM Group, recognising tireless effort of staff and volunteers during three storm events in July 2014.

2013 Recipients

Gold Awards

Orion New Zealand Limited, which owns and operates the electricity distribution network covering central Canterbury. Orion has set the benchmark for resilience for all providers and operators of lifeline utilities in New Zealand. Strengthened sub-stations, resilient communications and network information systems, a well led and highly motivated work team, and planned staff supplementation enable Orion to quickly understand impacts and outages. The 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes and the strong winds and snow of 2013 proved the value of Orion’s investment to Canterbury’s communities and businesses, and to New Zealand’s economy.

Simon Markham, Recovery Manager for the Waimakariri District Council. Following the earthquakes of 2010-11, Simon delivered a resoundingly successful community-focussed recovery operation that has been recognised in Waimakariri, Canterbury, nationally and increasingly, internationally. Simon shouldered the responsibility without hesitation. He devised the recovery plan and oversaw its implementation. His brilliant thinking, tenacity, leadership, quiet confidence and co-operative spirit produced a recovery plan focussed singularly on the well-being of the people. His work has greatly assisted the physical rebuild of Waimakariri communities and also their morale, confidence and psychological well-being.

Silver Awards

Jennifer Rowan, recent Chair of the Wellington CDEM Group and Mayor of Kapiti, for her outstanding public leadership and significant personal courage in advocating for reform in the Wellington CDEM Group.

Jim Frater, Nelson-Tasman CDEM Group Controller, for his outstanding leadership and ability as a controller in managing numerous responses.

Basil Morrison, Chair of Local Government Commission, for outstanding leadership in the Waikato region at times of crisis, and many years’ service as a local controller and elected official.

Kim Manahi, Emergency Preparedness Co-ordinator for the Ngai Tahu Runaka, for outstanding initiative and commitment to helping local communities be better prepared for a civil defence emergency, and ensuring marae are well-prepared to look after whanau, the community, response workers, and manuhiri that might need assistance in an emergency.

Jonathan Davies, Gisborne CDEM Group Controller, through outstanding leadership and management has developed strong and collaborative relationships with response partners, emergency services, and local businesses that have significantly enhanced CDEM in the Gisborne District.

2012 Recipients

Gold Award

GNS Science Hazards Group. The award recognises the hazards Group’s outstanding contribution to the development of CDEM in New Zealand over a lengthy period through research into natural hazards, contribution to risk mitigation measures, development of local plans and readiness measures, and advice to all levels of the response during the Canterbury earthquakes.

Silver Awards

Dave Brunsdon, Chief Executive of the Kestrel Group, for his commitment to and support to the development of resilience in lifeline utilities and work with urban search and rescue.

John Forbes, Mayor of Opotiki District, for his advocacy of CDEM in the Bay of Plenty CDEM Group.

John Hamilton, Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, for his leadership as National Controller during the response to the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

Jo Guard and Anita Komen, New Zealand ShakeOut National Coordinators, for their development and implementation of New Zealand ShakeOut in 2012.

Bob Parker, Mayor of Christchurch City, for his community leadership following the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

Diane Turner, recent CE of Whakatane District Council and a CDEM Controller for her leadership and advocacy of CDEM preparedness and resilience in the community.