By Dan Parker
Along with the death and destruction that came with the earthquake, there were also remarkable acts of bravery as people with no thought for their own welfare acted to save others. Today some of those deeds were recognised at an awards ceremony.
One man whose heroism has not been forgotten was Evan McLellan, who risked his life to pull survivors out of a collapsed building.
Before receiving his award today, Mr McLellan spent the morning with the woman who nominated him.
“If it wasn’t for Evan’s thoughts and actions on the day, I wouldn’t be here today,” says Kendyll Mitchell, who Mr McLellan pulled out of the rubble of the CTV building , along with her two children.
The family had been on the top floor receiving counselling for trauma after the previous quake in September when the earthquake occurred.
“It took me a very long time to track down Evan, and as soon as I saw his face, I knew that was exactly the person I’d been looking for for a few months,” says Ms Mitchell.
Like many of those receiving awards today, Evan McLellan says he is no hero.
“Nothing was going through my head at all. I saw them and acted,” he says.
Erwin Polczak also saved lives by acting without hesitation. The Polish jewellery maker was visiting a jewellery shop when the earthquake hit.
“I moved concrete to help people who were underneath,” says Mr Polczak.
One man, Joe Poiho, lost his life trying to save others as he ran to the aid of an injured woman in Cashell Mall, but was killed by falling rubble.
Today, his parents accepted his bravery award.
“He just would have acted instinctively I think, just what was natural. He did what every bloke would do - go and help. He would never leave somebody,” say his parents Joy and Arnold.
All in all 140 awards were handed out today for services, bravery and kindness.