24 Feb 2017

Al Lawn and Murray Sinclair have been named as the managers to lead the Port Hills fire recovery in Selwyn district and Christchurch city.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, as chair of the Canterbury CDEM Group Joint Committee, announced the appointments today.

“I am delighted that Al Lawn and Murray Sinclair have been appointed to the Recovery Manager roles and will lead the transition going forward. Both Al and Murray have extensive experience working in Civil Defence and I am confident they will effectively manage the recovery phase.”

“Murray and Al will be responsible for identifying the resources required for the recovery and working with stakeholders and the affected community to develop a draft recovery plan. The draft recovery plan will identify issues and opportunities as a consequence of the fire.”

Lianne Dalziel said that although 95 per cent of the fire area was “contained” firefighting operations will continue in the Port Hills for some time.

“Crews are continuing to monitor the fire in the Port Hills, both on the ground and in the air. Drones and helicopters are being used for thermal imaging to identify hotspots and I have been advised that as long as hotspots remain fire crew will have a presence.”

Recovery Manager Bios

Al Lawn                                        

Al was in the NZ Police for close to 20 years and was a volunteer firefighter for 15 years.  He was Sergeant of the Canterbury Police Alcohol Strategy and Enforcement Team and during his time in the Police he worked in both regional and national advisory roles.

He is now a Commissioner with the District Licencing Committee and a controller for Selwyn District Council. He has farmed on and off for over 30 years, including many years farming on the port hills.

During the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake he worked as a Police liaison officer in the Christchurch Emergency Operations Centre. He was working as a police sergeant on the day of the February earthquake, carrying out response and recovery activities within the CBD. In the days and weeks following the initial event he fulfilled a number of roles at the CTV site.

Al played a pivotal role in the response to the Kaikoura earthquake including providing advice to the Controller and ensuring the Emergency Operations Centre functioned efficiently. He was primarily the response manager but also acted as the Controller when the Controller was on leave.

He completed the National CDEM Controllers course in 2015.

Al has a good understanding of civil defence responsibilities/functions gleaned over many years as a first responder and supervisor. He also has a passion for community engagement and empowerment.

 Murray Sinclair                                               

Murray was employed by the Christchurch City Council from 1979 to 2015. At the time of Murray’s retirement in 2015 he was the Council’s Manager of Civil Defence and Rural Fire. Murray had held this position since 2006, leading work in disaster/emergency management since 1996. Murray has been extensively involved in readiness, response and recovery planning.

Murray played a pivotal role in the response to the 2010/2011 earthquakes. This included providing advice to the Controller and ensuring the Emergency Operations Centre functioned efficiently. Murray also provided advice to the Council’s CEO following the September 2010 earthquake on Council’s recovery responsibilities.

Murray has an excellent understanding of rural fire responsibilities/functions and the Council’s Principal Rural Fire Officer reported directly to Murray from 2008.

Murray has established an extensive working relationship with most agencies working in the CDEM response/recovery sector.

More recently, Murray was a Local CDEM Controller for the Kaikoura District Council for three weeks following the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.