Resilient communities

Building resilient communities and reducing consequences from emergencies are key outcomes for our organisation. This work includes activities that will support engagement with our communities to enable us to identify and provide services that are appropriate to community risks and needs. 

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 establishes Local Advisory Committees to provide local input into our national planning, ensuring that it is responsive to the risks and needs of communities.


Local Advisory Committee trial in the Hawke’s Bay

The Local Advisory Committee trial in Hawke’s Bay has been completed.

We are using what we learnt from the trial to establish Local Advisory Committees (LACs) across the country. These Committees will provide advice to the Board and Fire and Emergency New Zealand about their respective community’s risks and needs – they will have no role in operations.

The trial builds on the findings of the two successful LAC pilots run in Greater Auckland in late 2016 and in Mid-South Canterbury in 2017. The Hawke’s Bay trial will help us test the design of LACs in more detail. Among other things it will help us better understand what skills and knowledge LAC members should have (appropriate for those communities), how the committees will be structured, how they will work with our organisation and how we will incorporate local input into our planning processes.

The Board has appointed seven people to the trial committee which met regularly between February and May 2018.

Mike Lester (Chair)

Mike has served on a variety of district councils, community boards and societies in the Hawke’s Bay area over the past 15 years. He has strong connections to the community; strong communications and people skills and a good understanding of local risks and needs in both urban and rural residential zones for Central Hawke’s Bay and Hastings.

He is currently Chairman of the NZ Community Board Executive; chairing the ten-year review of the Central Hawke’s Bay District Plan; and on the Rural Community Board of the Hawke’s Bay District Council.

Tania Kerr (Deputy Chair)

Tania has held a number of local community committee and advisory group roles, and has a good understanding of local risks and needs particularly in the rural areas; including risks around population density and climate change. Her current roles include being Deputy Mayor for the Hastings District Council, and Deputy Chair of Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence and Emergency Management Rural Advisory Group.

Jeremy Harker (Member)

Jeremy has a range of experience, including emergency event management, having been involved in the responses to the Christchurch earthquake, Operation Rena in Tauranga, and the flood damage response in Wairoa. He is currently a Wairoa District Councillor, a Health Hawke’s Bay Director, and a Senior Manager at a roading and construction company.

Leon Stallard (Member)

Leon has an extensive background in horticulture and land use and good understanding of local risks and needs particularly in the isolated, sparsely populated rural areas. Current roles include being a director of Horticulture NZ, and he is on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Horticultural Sector Committee.

Liz Lambert (Member)

Liz has strong links into the community and local services through safer communities networks. She is a member of the Safe Communities Regional Group and the Safe Napier Strategic Group.

Lisa Pohatu (Member)

Lisa has an existing relationship with Fire and Emergency through her role as the Population Health Advisor for the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board. She currently holds a number of community roles, including being a Board member of the National Health Promotion Forum.

Monique Heke (Member)

Monique has strong connections with marae and Māori communities in the area through her role as Senior Advisory for the Ministry of Māori Development. She is currently on a number of local community groups, including being a member of Te Huarahi Aratika Governance Group Member - an inter-agency collective formed to influence positive change in the Eastern Napier Suburbs.

More information


Find out more about Fire and Emergency NZ’s three year work programme for the second, ‘integration’, phase to integrate the functions and activities of urban and rural fire services, to deliver Cabinet’s expectations of Fire and Emergency NZ set out in the Act, and build resilient communities.