Police give award to Palmerston North man

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A Palmerston North man was awarded with a police certificate on Friday after helping to save the life of a man in Morven earlier this year.

John Kurene was presented with the New Zealand Police Certificate of Appreciation by Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher at the Oamaru Police station on Friday morning.

On April 5, Mr Kurene was a supervisor at a building site in Morven when another worker on site suffered a psychotic episode and climbed to the top of a 45m structure.

The man climbed out onto a narrow piece of steel indicating his intention was to jump and take his own life.

Mr Kurene climbed the structure and communicated with the man for two hours in an attempt to get him down safely.

Sergeant Blair Wilkinson, who was at the scene, said he commended Mr Kurene’s actions given how difficult it would have been to negotiate with someone for that period of time and under those circumstances.

Mr Kurene was “overwhelmed” by the award and said he could not have done it without the police and others around him.

“It was a team effort.

“It wasn’t just me, it was all of us.”

Mr Kurene said everything went blank on the day except for trying to talk to the man to stop him jumping and it was such a relief when he came down.

“He was adamant he was going to jump.”

Mr Kircher said he wanted to thank Mr Kurene for what he did for the young man, whom Mr Kircher knew and who had a mixed past but lots of potential.

“The good thing is he’s still around and got the help he’s needed to get past that.”

The certificate stated that both men were exposed to wind, rain and cold temperatures, but Mr Kurene maintain his position over two hours continually talking to the man despite him refusing to engage in conversation.

“Upon the arrival of Police, Mr Kurene continued to take a lead role in negotiations until the worker eventually climbed down.

“He then assisted Police with keeping him calm during transportation to the care of mental health professionals.

“Had it not been for the bravery, level headedness and perseverance displayed by Mr Kurene, it is highly likely the worker would have taken his own life by jumping from the 45m structure.”

The certificate was signed by Southern District Commander Superintendent Andrew Coster.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

APPRECIATION: Palmerston North man John Kurene (left) being presented a police certificate of appreciation on Friday.