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City to honour this year’s ordinary heroes

Sep 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

STAY SAFE: WCC initiative

WELLINGTONIANS have yet to see a Dark Knight or friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, but we have plenty of our own heroes, according to Wellington City Council.

The council is calling for nominations of “safety heroes” for its eighth annual Safety in the City awards which recognise local people who have helped protect their communities.

“It’s a good chance for some unsung heroes to get some recognition,” says city safety advisor Emma Titcombe.

“So far, we’ve had eight nominations. We also keep an eye out [for safety heroes] through the year.”

The awards are a partnership between the council and the New Zealand Police and recognise both year-round community works to improve safety, and individual acts of bravery.  Seventeen people were commended last year.

“There were groups who worked every day to make Wellington safer, and there were some people who stopped to help others and saved lives, both of which are just as heroic as each other,” says Ms Titcombe.

“Without them, Wellington wouldn’t be as great a place to live.”

Samantha Donaldson with son Caleb

Last year’s winners included Strathmore mother Samantha Donaldson (left), who stepped in to help stop a knife attack against a neighbour

Among the commended groups was the crew of the police boat Lady Elizabeth IV, who assisted passengers when the East By West ferry was struck by a freak wave.

Another winning group was the eastern suburbs community patrol Eastern Rocks.

Chairperson Kelly Hoar-Guthire says her team were “absolutely stoked” with their award.

“It’s been great to see how happy the community is with our work,” she says.

“It’s all about keeping people safe and making a difference. The award was the icing on the cake.”


BOY RACERS: Eastern suburbs keep Eastern Rocks busy. IMAGE:

Since it started up in April 2011, Eastern Rocks has dealt with punch-ups in Kilbirnie, boy racers in Worser and Breaker Bays and young people drinking in alcohol free Mt Victoria.

YWCA volunteer Sue Hanrahan won an award for leading a pilot programme, Thriving in Social Situations, to reduce alcohol-related harm among young Wellington women.

The programme was trialled in three schools and included seminars for Years 9 and 10 girls on managing alcohol in social settings, self-defence and education for parents.


JUST SAY NO: YWCA’s programme teaches women to drink sensibly and resist peer pressure.     IMAGE: Phil Reid, Dominion Post

“68% of under-age drinkers get alcohol from their parents,” says Ms Hanrahan.

She says the seminars encourage young women to resist peer pressure in social situations.

“We’re debunking the myth that ‘everyone’s doing it’. You can say no,” she says.

“It’s about knowing your mates, and knowing your limits.”

Wellington has been declared an International Safe Community by the World Health Organization, and is the only capital city in the world to achieve this status.

Ms Titcombe says community organisations’ commitment to safety contributes to Wellington’s ranking on the world stage.

“People really seem to care about their community and surrounds,” she says.

AIRPORT SUBWAY: Fewer attacks with Eastern Rocks patrol IMAGE:

Nominations for the awards close on September 21, and this year’s winners will be honoured in a ceremony on October 16 at the Town Hall.

Nominations can be sent to Ms Titcombe at


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is a Whitireia journalism student, most passionate about the arts and social justice issues. Sometimes, she even combines the two.
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