By Otago Boys Foundation | Posted: Monday January 30, 2017
Richard was awarded to be a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in the New Years honors list for 2017.
For services as a coroner and to Antarctic heritage
Mr Richard McElrea was a coroner for more than 20 years and contributed to the development of the New Zealand Coronial Service.
Mr McElrea served as a Coroner at Christchurch for 21 years and was instrumental in establishing the Coroners’ Council in 1998, working to form relationships with Australian and English Coroners. He served as the Council’s Chair until it was disbanded with the establishment of a Chief Coroner under the Coroners’ Act 2006. He was instrumental in promoting the passage of the Act through Parliament and led the council in its submissions to the Select Committee. He also chaired the committee of the Asia Pacific Coroners’ Society which included coroners from a number of Pacific countries. He presided over many significant inquest hearings and was passionate about the need for independent investigations of air crashes and ship sinking. Many of his findings were of national importance, including transport-related deaths and deaths in prisons. Beyond his work as a coroner, he was the Chair of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, responsible for the care of the original explorer bases in the Ross sea region. Mr McElrea has been involved with the production of several books and papers on Antarctic exploration, as co-author, co-publisher, associate editor and researcher.