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MedMech 11-05-2003 08:18 PM

100% Grade A Bad A$$
 
My kind of guy!

Hero who saved daughter reluctantly accepts award
06 November 2003
By HAYDON DEWES

Chris Whitaker is happy to be a hero if it keeps the bad news out of the media.


The New Plymouth man was awarded a silver medal for bravery from the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand after he fought off an intruder in a Hastings motel where he and his daughter were staying in March.

The rare award 188 have been awarded in 105 years was presented to Mr Whitaker and two others by Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright at Government House yesterday.

Flaxmere orchard worker Keith Terepo was jailed for 10 years after he admitted breaking into the Whitakers' motel room and stabbing Mr Whitaker and his 22-year-old daughter Phillippa with a knife.

Terepo held a carving knife to Ms Whitaker's throat as she lay in bed. Hearing her screams, Mr Whitaker rushed to her aid. He attacked the intruder, who stabbed him in the face, chest and stomach, leaving him holding his own intestines in his hands.

According to the society: "It is very likely that without (Mr Whitaker's) prompt and brave intervention, his daughter would have been seriously injured or even killed."

After the ceremony, he said he was no hero and had to think hard before accepting the award. "The reason why I've accepted it is I'm sick and tired of the bad part of New Zealand getting all the front-page things. We don't recognise the good in people too often."

He was "extremely thankful and humbled" by the flood of cards and wellwishers who had contacted him since the incident.

He and his daughter have made good recoveries from the attack, physically and mentally. He is now working four days a week at his construction firm and she is about to graduate from Victoria University.

Wanaka man John Hare also received a silver medal for pulling a toddler from a car as it sank in a dam near Alexandra in February.

Eric Duggan received the award for trying to rescue friend Simon Hassall, fatally hurt in a Canterbury avalanche last year


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