Fresh start for local fire service
BY JULIA WADE
It’s official: Mangawhai Volunteer Fire Brigade (MVFB) have finally moved in to the brand new, state-of-the-art facility dedicated volunteers and officers have long deserved, and marked the occasion with an auspicious celebration.
Officially opened by Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) chair Hon Paul Swain and MC’d by area manager Brad Mosby, the ceremony was attended by Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith, local councillors, Ngati Whatua Iwi and their delegates Mataua Fraser Toi and Cherie Povey, FENZ deputy chief executive Brendan Nally and regional manager Ron Devlin, Mangawhai Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Robert Leslie as well as many past and current brigade members, friends and family.
In his welcoming speech, Leslie thanked many people ‘who helped us get where we are today’, including the support of FENZ and Mosby, Mal Tipton for his ‘tenacious’ funding efforts, ex-CFO Maurie Doughty QSM for ‘pushing for the idea of a new station’, and dedicated fundraisers Carol Parkes and Annie Kitchener aka ‘Friends of the Brigade’.
“This building heralds a new beginning for the Mangawhai fire service, one with a bright and positive future,” he says. “The new location will also improve access to the main road, allowing for better parking for our volunteers with less traffic congestion compared to the old station. That means we can respond more quickly to callouts in the Heads and the Village.”
The new station is part of a major investment programme for FENZ to rebuild, upgrade and relocate fire stations around the country and replaces the now-condemned Wood Street station that was built in the 1970s. The new building contains two drive-through appliance bays, operational areas with decontamination facilities, a training room, modern IT equipment and a mobile generator that can power the entire site. It also has environmentally sustainable features like double glazing, thermal and acoustic insulation and LED sensor lighting.
Proud to open the new facility, Hon Paul Swain says FENZ carefully considered options before deciding on the new site, with the new location 'ticking several boxes including the fact it is right next door to our partner agency St John'.
"As communities grow and develop, we need to make sure all our people have the right facilities, tools, technology and support to enable them to do what they do best – to protect life, property and the environment,” he says. “It is fantastic the Mangawhai community now have this high-quality, fit-for-purpose station.”
1: Designed by Black Box Architects and built by N. Cole Ltd, the new station will be the envy of New Zealand’s fire service says FENZ chair Paul Swain.
2: Mangawhai Chief Fire Officer Rob Leslie with the remaining volunteers after some officers made their first call out during the ceremony.
4: Paul Swain was given the honour of planting a kowhai tree to signify the stations opening, watched on Rob Leslie and Ngati Whatua Iwi delegates Mataua Fraser Toi and Cherie Povey.
6a: Many people were thanked during the ceremony including ‘Friends of the Brigade’ founders Annie Kitchener and Carole Parkes, their ‘Fire Brick Wall’ raising a substantial amount of money.