Bravery medal should go to museum
Where should the city's bravery award be kept?
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
Christchurch's bravery medal should be housed at the Canterbury Musuem, not the city council offices, an online readers poll suggests.
The Royal Humane Society of New Zealand's gold medal, designed to recognise the acts of heroism after the February 2011 earthquake, was unveiled at the Christchurch City Council's offices on Tuesday.
However, an unscientific poll conducted by press.co.nz, and which attracted more than 650 votes by mid-afternoon today, found 68 per cent said it would be more appropriate to display the medal at the museum.
Seven per cent voted for the medal to remain at the council's Hereford St offices, where it is displayed on the first floor.
A council spokeswoman said that as the medal was ''for the city'' it was appropriate that it was housed in a public space where people were free to view it.
''The last medal of this sort was given after the Wahine disaster and that is housed in Parliament. This is a similar sort of thing and it was decided it should go here,'' she said.
Museum director Anthony Wright said he had no comment on the appropriateness of the medal's placement, other than to say it was ''heartening to have the community's faith in the museum's ability to care for our treasures reaffirmed''.
Wright said the museum had a great relationship with the council.
''Quite apart from council being the museum's principal funder, we and colleagues at the art gallery have worked closely with council staff in the past to set up excellent professional practices for the care and security of precious items that are gifted to the city,'' he said.
''In numerous cases, civic gifts have come on to the museum for safe long-term care on behalf of the community.''
Wright was not aware of any discussions about the medal going to the museum.
About 10 per cent thought the medal should go to Christchurch Hospital emergency department, where many of the injured were treated in difficult circumstances on February 22, 2011.
There was little support for the medal to be kept at the central fire station or go on tour of the city.
Royal Humane Society president Austin Forbes, QC, said it was the society that had proposed the medal be presented to the mayor. The council had proposed it be held permanently in the council main foyer.
"The society agreed. It considered it was appropriate that the medal is held at the council's building. No suggestion to the contrary was made by anyone, at least to my knowledge, at any stage."
Holding the medal at the Canterbury Museum may have been an option but it was never suggested or considered, Forbes said. "It would not be appropriate to do so."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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