Face of the day


Greymouth teenager Andrew Field will be presented with a bravery award for rescuing three children.


A teenager who pulled three children from a car overturned in a freezing West Coast river will be honoured for his heroism.

Andrew Field, of Greymouth, will receive a Royal Humane Society of New Zealand silver medal in June in recognition of his bravery.

Last September, the then-17-year-old diesel mechanic apprentice was driving home from Reefton to Greymouth when he came to the Rough River Bridge, near Ikamatua.

[…] He became concerned a car had crashed through the wooden barriers.

He soon spotted the car, half-submerged and upside down in the icy waters of the Otututu River. Field called emergency services and made his way down to the riverbed.

To reach the damaged car, he crossed the fast-flowing river in his ute. When he got close enough, he hopped into the waist-deep water.

There were four people inside the car, a man and his three children. Field later told the NZ Herald the man, 32-year-old Tamati James Rae, of Kaikōura, appeared to be “already gone”.

When he called out, a voice answered: “help us”. He grabbed a rock and used it to smash a window, then one-by-one he pulled out the three children, aged 11, 9, and 6.

Field ferried them to his ute to keep warm, before a local farm worker who came across the scene, Ryan Davy, took them to his nearby house and ran them a bath to warm up.

West Coast police said they were pleased the teenager would receive the bravery award, with one local officer describing him as “the epitome of a true hero; super in action and heart”.

“Police wholeheartedly agree that this young man did a tremendous job and displays the characteristics of true heroism,” […]

“Andrew exemplifies the qualities in this action that are a real credit to him and his family. By taking immediate action I am certain that he saved lives.”

Field attended the tangi for Rae, who was returning to Kaikōura after visiting family on the West Coast when he crashed.

[…] at the time told the NZ Herald he would never forget the night, nor would he have forgiven himself if he had not stopped.

Asked what others should do if they found themselves in similar position, he said: “Just do it. If you stand back and wait and worry about the water. . . Worry about it later.” […]


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