Honoured Science Alive! backer dies

A Christchurch man who was to receive the Queen's Service Medal in the New Year honours for decades of community service has died 11 days short of his big day.

Murray Giera died on Friday, after his honour had been approved by the Queen. It was to have been announced on Tuesday next week.

Given the sad circumstances, his appointment would take effect from Thursday last week, deputy secretary of the Cabinet (constitutional and honours) Michael Webster told Fairfax Media.

"He knew before he died that he'd received the Queen's formal approval," Webster said.

Giera, who was understood to have been ill for some time, has been active in the Christchurch community for four decades.

He was instigator and management creator of the Science Alive! centre in Christchurch, the most successful Science Alive! centre in the country.

He set up a model of rental property income to supplement entrance fees and grants.

He was one of the founders of the 6A drop-in centre for streetkids and the homeless in the early 1970s.

In the 1970s and 1980s he coached the senior B and senior sides for the Marist Albion Rugby Club and coached school rugby up to Canterbury under-16 level.

He served on the St Bede's College Old Boy's Association executive committee, including as president.

He organised, coached, and raised funds for St Bede's boys rowing, and served a seven-year term on the St John of God Health and Disability Board in the 1990s.

He chaired the Diocesan management and finance board of his church for nine years.

As well, he was an active member of the Real Estate Institute committee, chairman of the New Zealand First National Real Estate group, and an elected member of the Real Estate Licensing Board.