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Mangawhai Combined Rebus Club - 30 years of service highlight for new CFO

New Chief Fire Officer Rob Leslie was welcomed by Bill Bygraves to Mangawhai’s May Rebus Club meeting. The Leslie family has a long history in the area (Leslie Street in the Village is named after them). 

It was in 1987 that Rob (after much persuading from mates) joined Kaiwaka’s fire brigade. Now a 25 year gold star veteran, Rob has further gold bars to round out 30 years of service.

Mangawhai’s brigade formed in 1965 and was a Council funded rural unit. The current fire house sits on Council land and was built by volunteers. 

The fast growing Mangawhai area necessitated full FENZ status, the auxiliary service under Whangarei outgrown.  This new status meant a new Chief Fire Officer, which Rob was chosen to fulfil.  Of 20 local fire staff only one is female – Rob is keen to get a better balance into Mangawhai’s brigade. 

The new fire station will be built next to the St John Ambulance Station.  Land clearance is well under way. Fundraising continues, but the target is in sight. 

Rob told how he thoroughly enjoys the Fire Service camaraderie. He was given a resounding ovation from the Rebus audience.
Second speaker was new committee member Janet Chalk. Coming from Southampton to New Zealand in 1966 as a young married woman, Janet told the amusing story of when she was a girl advising her mum that she was going to New Zealand the minute she could and to her chagrin her mum said ‘what a good idea’. 

Janet quickly learned about ‘ladies bring a plate’, 6 o’clock closing, gardening, and running a household. 

Rebus member David Foster met Janet in 1980, when both were working for Mainzeal. 

The meeting had an audio/visual presentation of the Sculptureum that a group had previously visited, compiled by Graham and Marge Galt. 

Two new members were also warmly welcomed in May.

Want to know more about Mangawhai Combined Rebus Club? Meet every third Thursday of the month in the Senior Citizens’ Hall, Fagan Place, Mangawhai Heads at 2pm. Visitors welcome. Contact Gaylene Lawrence 431 5617 or Beve Smith 431 5777 for more details.
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