Stewart Guthrie

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Stewart Graeme Guthrie
Sguthrie nzpolice.jpg
Born Stewart Graeme Guthrie
(1948-11-22)22 November 1948
Dunedin, New Zealand
Died 13 November 1990(1990-11-13) (aged 41)
Aramoana, New Zealand
Cause of death Murdered
Nationality New Zealand
Alma mater Otago Boys' High School
Known for His heroic acts during the Aramoana massacre.
Partner(s) Mrs Sandra Guthrie
Children Three
Stewart Guthrie
Police career
Department Royal New Zealand Navy
Allegiance  New Zealand
Years of service 1965–1974
Stewart Guthrie
Other names Stu
Awards George Cross UK ribbon.png George Cross
Police career
Department New Zealand Police
Badge number 5024
Allegiance  New Zealand
Years of service c.1969–1990[1]
Rank Sergeant

Stewart Graeme Guthrie, GC (22 November 1948 – 13 November 1990) of New Zealand is the most recent civilian recipient of the George Cross, the highest award for conspicuous gallantry not in the face of an enemy awarded in certain Commonwealth countries. He received the award for his role in the police response to the Aramoana massacre, at which he lost his life.

Aramoana massacre[edit]

Guthrie, a New Zealand Police sergeant, and an NCO in the Armed Offenders Squad, was sole duty officer at Port Chalmers police station on 13 November 1990 when he received a report that a man was firing a weapon indiscriminately at Aramoana, a small seaside township 8 km north-east of Port Chalmers.

Sergeant Guthrie immediately went to the town and liaised with police constable Russell Anderson, who had arrived separately with the fire brigade. New Zealand police are generally unarmed, but because of the serious nature Guthrie had brought a police Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver, and armed Anderson with a rifle belonging to a local resident, before trying to apprehend the gunman. By this time, Guthrie had learned the gunman had killed several people.

Guthrie knew the gunman, David Gray, and located him inside his house. Guthrie instructed the constable to cover the front of the house, while he took the more dangerous position at the rear of the property. During this time, Guthrie had kept his control fully informed of the latest situation. Tapes of radio conversations between him and other police who arrived at the scene revealed that he was doing his utmost to minimize the danger to his colleagues.

Gray left his house by the front entrance and went towards Anderson, but retreated through his house when challenged. Guthrie meanwhile had taken cover behind a sand dune, at the rear of a crib next-door to Gray's. He was lying with revolver in one hand and police radio in the other, and transmitted when he encountered Gray coming out of the rear of his house. Guthrie challenged the gunman, "Stop, David, or I shoot", and fired a warning shot into the air. The gunman responded by firing a series of shots, one of which struck Guthrie in the head, killing him. In all, the gunman killed thirteen people and seriously wounded two, before Special Tactics Group police shot him dead the next day.[citation needed]


The funeral for Guthrie was held at St. Paul's Cathedral on 19 November 1990, with full police honours. Around 2,000 people, including 700 police officers attended. The service and final blessing were given by the Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, the Rt Rev Dr Penny Jamieson, and he received the naval honour of the piping the side, followed by a private cremation.[2]


The London Gazette citation appeared in a supplement to the issue of 17 February 1992, dated 18 February 1992:[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McMurran, Alistair (17 November 1990). "Guthrie always put needs of community first". Otago Daily Times. p. 19. After leaving secondary school he joined the navy and when he joined the police force 21 years ago he rejoined the Port Chalmers rugby club. 
  2. ^ Spencer, Leigh (20 November 1990). "(article below honour guard photo)". Otago Daily Times. p. 1. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52837. pp. 2783–2784. 17 February 1992. Retrieved 2008-01-10.

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