Chch man dies before Queen's honour

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2013
Murray Giera
MURRAY GIERA: Dedicated to community service

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Murray Giera took "great comfort" knowing his services to the community had been formally recognised by the Queen just a fortnight before his death.

Giera died last Thursday after a two-year battle with skin cancer and complications from motor neurone disease, just 11 days before he was to receive a Queen's Service Medal in the New Year honours for decades of community service.

His appointment would now take effect from Thursday last week, deputy secretary of the Cabinet (constitutional and honours) Michael Webster said.

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

Giera was born in a refugee camp in Germany and he and his parents moved to New Zealand in 1950.

His brother, David, said he was there when his mother told Giera about his upcoming honour. "He was really touched about that," he said.

As he was working on his late brother's eulogy he began to realise the extent of his service to others. "That just shows me how humble he was," David Giera said.

Giera was instigator and management creator of the Science Alive! centre in Christchurch.

He also set up rental property income to supplement entrance fees and grants and was one of the founders of the 6A drop-in centre for street kids and the homeless in the early 1970s.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Giera 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 Boys' Association executive committee, including as president.

Giera organised, coached and raised funds for St Bede's 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.

Giera 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.

His funeral will be held in Christchurch today.

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- The Press

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