New local leadership structure at Fire and Emergency

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

New local leadership structure at Fire and Emergency

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has today reached a significant milestone as New Zealand’s first unified firefighting organisation.

27 September 2021 marks the stand-up of 17 new Districts, replacing an historic split where there were 24 urban areas and 18 rural fire districts across the country.

Chief Executive Rhys Jones says Fire and Emergency New Zealand was established in 2017 and bringing together over 40 rural and urban fire services and 14,000 people has been a huge job.

"But getting all the different firefighting set ups working together as one national organisation has been necessary," Rhys Jones says.

"Our structural changes are about building a unified national emergency management organisation to meet the changing risks communities face across both the built and natural environments," he says.

Prior to the new structure announced today, Fire and Emergency maintained a similar leadership structure to the organisations that preceded it. Area managers led urban focused brigades and stations, and principal rural fire officers led rurally focused brigades.

Under the new structure, all brigades and stations will sit together under their respective newly appointed District managers.

National Commander Kerry Gregory says Fire and Emergency’s work goes a lot further than putting out fires and the new teams will reflect its wider remit.

"For years now, the proportion of fire callouts has been reducing compared to other incidents - and this will continue to be the case. A changing climate means we’ll need to respond to more frequent and severe natural disasters in the future. We are also attending more road accidents, medical callouts and incidents involving hazardous materials.

"Our new structure enables us to continue to respond to those emergencies and work with communities to keep them safe

"Reducing the risk of fire is the single most effective thing we can do in seeking to protect New Zealand’s people, property and environment. Our new structure enables us to put an increased focus on risk reduction and supporting communities to be resilient and able to recover more quickly from the impact of emergencies."

Kerry Gregory says this is an important and exciting time for Fire and Emergency and its people.

"I am confident our District managers have the skills needed to successfully deliver our goals and they have my full support. I am looking forward to working alongside them in their new roles.

We are thrilled to have reached this point and have our new structure stood up to better support New Zealand communities," the National Commander says.


Bios of our new District managers below. 

Te Hiku (Northland/Auckland) Region Manager, Ron Devlin 

This is an exciting time for Te Hiku and one we have been working towards for a number of years. I’m not just proud of our newly appointed leaders, but, everyone in Te Hiku. We are a unique and diverse region. We have New Zealand’s biggest city and some of the most remote communities in the country. Our new District managers are experienced and understand community needs and those of our personnel. I’m positive they will do a fantastic job.

 Wipari Henwood, Northland

Wipari Henwood is Northland’s new District manager. Wipari was previously Area manager for Muri Whenua. He first joined Fire and Emergency’s predecessor, the New Zealand Fire Service, in 1985 and has had numerous roles across both organisations over the last 36 years. As District manager, Wipari wants to help embed kaupapa Māori within Fire and Emergency and bring life to our commitment to Māori as tangata whenua.

Geoff Purcell, Waitematā

Waitemata’s District manager Geoff Purcell previously led Counties-Manukau as its Area manager. He has been a part of Fire and Emergency and its predecessor the New Zealand Fire Service since 1979, initially as a volunteer. Geoff brings significant experience to the role and firefighting knowledge of both the built and natural environments. Under his vision for the unified District, all personnel will have the capability to reduce risk, build community resilience and provide emergency response so that we can make Waitematā a safer community.

Vaughan Mackereth, Auckland

As District manager of Auckland City, Vaughan Mackereth oversees the highest concentration of career firefighters in the country. Vaughan has spent his 38-year career in Auckland, first as a firefighter, before moving up the ranks to become assistant fire commander. As District manager, Vaughan wants to foster a risk reduction culture that is at the centre of everything and which will support Fire and Emergency’s vision of building stronger communities and protecting what matters to the people of New Zealand.

Brad Mosby, Counties Manukau

With over 25 years’ experience at Fire and Emergency New Zealand and previously the New Zealand Fire Service, Counties-Manukau’s new District manager Brad Mosby has a strong understanding of the emergency service sector and its relationship with communities. He has worked throughout New Zealand, including spells in Auckland, Northland and Canterbury. Prior to moving into his new role, Brad was the Area manager for Whangarei-Kaipara. In his new role, he’s looking forward to getting to know the wonderful people who work and volunteer within the District as well as the diverse communities they serve.

 Ngā Tai ki te Puku (Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Tairāwhiti) Region Manager, David Guard

Ngā mihi matakuikui ki a koutou i runga i te tini āhuatanga o te wā

Across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Tairāwhiti Districts we have appointed three experienced and capable people to become our new District managers. I am looking forward to the challenges we will share as the Ngā Tai ki te Puku Region Leadership Team. These three and their District leadership teams have unique challenges and will work to provide high-quality fire risk management, response and recovery services to their Districts. I have full confidence in them and know they will get the support they deserve from our people across Ngā Tai ki te Puku rohe and our partners and communities.

Ehara ahau i te rangatira, engari he ata ahau nō te tangata

Daryl Trim, Waikato 

Daryl started off as a volunteer firefighter at Inglewood, in Taranaki, before becoming a career firefighter in Palmerston North. In 2007, Daryl moved from Palmerston North to Hamilton, as a Senior Station Officer. There, he moved through the ranks and has most recently been Waikato’s Area manager. As well as his management roles, Daryl has had a strong interest in training and has also been a key member of the national Fire and Emergency Urban Search and Rescue response team. He was deployed to the 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan. In his new role as District manager, Daryl is looking forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders from forestry to local councils and iwi.

 Jeff Maunder, Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty District Manager Jeff Maunder is driven to lead a proactive team that puts community front and centre. He comes into the role having spent the last few years as the Central Lakes Area manager. Through this, he has developed several key relationships and hopes to continues to foster those and develop new ones as the District manager. Jeff brings a range of experience into the role, including a stint as a police officer before joining the New Zealand Fire Service. He has also built a strong reputation as an Urban Search and Rescue leader, both here and internationally. In New Zealand, he manages our drone capabilities, while internationally, he is the co-chair of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group’s Information Management Working Group. It is responsible for developing effective information management systems for international USAR and promoting more efficient coordination of USAR operations, both nationally and internationally.

 Peter Clark, Tairāwhiti

Ko Rangikawarawara te maunga, ko Waihoehoe te awa, Hokianga te moana, Hokianga nui, Hokianga roa Hokianga whakapau karakia, Te Ihutai te hapu, Ngapuhi te Iwi. Peter has had a number of leadership roles in the region and now takes up the new District manager role in Tairāwhiti. Peter’s vision for Fire and Emergency and the communities of Tairāwhiti is to work together, using a collaborative strength-based approach and recognising everybody has something to offer. By working together, we can all grow and flourish.

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.

 Ehara ahau i te rangatira, engari he ata ahau nō te tangata

I am not a chiefly person, but rather the reflection of one

Nāku te rourou, nāu te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi

With my basket and your basket we will sustain our people

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini kē

Success should not be bestowed upon one person, but the success of many

Noho ora mai mai rā

Nā David

Te Ūpoko (Wellington, Manawatu/Whanganui, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay) Region Manager, Bruce Stubbs 

Across Te Ūpoko I’m fortunate to work alongside a number of fantastic leaders, and it is an honour to see many of them will be staying in our Regional leadership team. David Utumapu, Ken Cooper and Nigel Dravitzki have played key roles for Te Ūpoko rohe over the last four years with Nick Pyatt re-joining the Region leadership team. Nick has had several important roles in the organisation particularly last year during the COVID-19 response, and I know he will do a fantastic job for the people of the Wellington District.

 Ken Cooper, Hawke’s Bay

Originally from Scotland, Ken Cooper spent six years as a firefighter there before emigrating to New Zealand and joining the New Zealand Fire Service in 2000. Ken has spent the majority of his time in leadership roles in Hawke’s Bay, most recently as the Area manager. He has also had roles as a subject matter expert within emergency management and leads our Central Urban Search and Rescue team. In his role as District manager, Ken wants to create an environment that enables Fire and Emergency personnel to reach their potential as well as explore innovative ways with our partners to make things safe for the Hawke’s Bay community.

Nigel Dravitzki, Manawatu-Whanganui

Manawatu-Whanganui District Manager Nigel Dravitzki has a diverse background, having been a part of firefighting organisations for more than three decades, including leadership roles in both private and public sector organisations. He will be looking to build and develop a unified team across the Manawatu-Whanganui District. Nigel wants his team to reflect Fire and Emergency’s goals and meets the emergency needs and expectations of Manawatu-Whanganui.

 David Utumapu, Taranaki

David Utumapu has spent more than 30 years with the New Zealand Fire Service and then Fire and Emergency, nearly all of them in Taranaki. David is passionate about the District and meeting its needs. In his new role as District manager, David is looking forward to further developing relationships and establishing new processes to ensure communities are at the heart of everything Fire and Emergency does in Taranaki.

Nick Pyatt, Wellington 

Wellington raised and currently living in the Wairarapa, Nick Pyatt has a strong understanding of his District. Starting as a firefighter 23 years ago, Nick has had several roles across the organisation, most recently as assistant area manager in the Wairarapa. Since Fire and Emergency was established in 2017, he has also been involved in rural fire management as the principal rural fire offficer for the Wairarapa. As District manager, Nick wants to be at the forefront of empowering his people around the District to support and serve their communities.

Te Ihu (Canterbury, West Coast and Nelson Marlborough) Region Manager, Paul Henderson 

Te Ihu is the largest fire Region in New Zealand and it has more fire stations and brigades than any other Region. We provide services to culturally diverse communities across an area that is varied in both its geography and its hazards. It includes the major population centres of Christchurch, Nelson, Timaru and Blenheim, along with the relatively isolated communities on the West Coast.

These factors contribute to a diverse range of risks which can mean we are dealing with flooding and storm damage on one side of the Southern Alps and extremely dry conditions with elevated fire risk on the other side.

We have appointed leaders who understand the risks and their communities. The new District managers bring considerable experience in managing incidents and personnel.

 Grant Haywood, Nelson Marlborough

Grant Haywood is a community minded people leader, who is focused on ensuring local Fire and Emergency personnel support and engage the people of Nelson Marlborough and work with them in a collaborative fashion. He is coming into the District manager’s role with a strong understanding of the needs of Nelson Marlborough, having spent three years as the Tasman-Marlborough Area manager. Grant has been involved in firefighting since 1995, starting as a volunteer and later as a career firefighter and then a manager. He wants to empower local Fire and Emergency personnel to proactively promote Fire and Emergency’s 4Rs (risk reduction, recovery, readiness and response) and for locals and stakeholders to understand what Fire and Emergency does and how we support them.

 Myles Taylor, West Coast

Myles Taylor is moving from Northland to be District manager for the West Coast. Prior to his new role, Myles led the rural fire operations for Northland. While the West Coast offers different challenges to Northland, Myles’ emergency management experience paired with his organisational knowledge and his dedication to his people and communities will ensure the West Coast is in good hands. With the help of his team he wants to work closely with communities to identify risk and help them become more resilient.

David Stackhouse, Canterbury 

David Stackhouse is a respected leader across Canterbury and, in his new role as District manager he will be looking to build on the good relationships he developed as Area Commander Christchurch Metro. He is also looking forward to tackling new challenges across the new Canterbury District. His priorities will be centred on people, strengthening culture and values and working on building robust systems, structure and resourcing.

Rob Hands, Mid-South Canterbury 

Rob Hands has been involved with firefighting both in the built and natural environments, for a number of decades. He knows Aoraki communities well and has strong connections from his previous role as a principal rural fire officer and as a volunteer firefighter. Rob wants to prioritise Fire and Emergency’s organisational goals and to be there for both the urban and rural communities across Aoraki.

 Te Kei (Otago and Southland) Region Manager, Mike Grant

Both Julian Tohiariki and Phil Marsh have been key members of the Te Kei leadership team since Fire and Emergency stood up the Region in July 2017. Their knowledge and experience will ensure strong continuity in the work we have been doing unifying our services across the Region.

Phil Marsh, Otago

Phil Marsh has been with Fire and Emergency and its predecessor the New Zealand Fire Service for 26 years, starting as a volunteer before becoming a career firefighter a year later. Since 1996, Phil has progressed up the firefighting ranks and held executive roles in both urban and rural fire. In those positions and as a firefighter he has developed and refined his knowledge about fire management and risk reduction for both the built and natural environments. Over the last 18 months Phil has led the Region’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking forward to his role as Otago’s District manager, Phil plans to work closely with local stakeholders to build community resilience and reduce fire related harm.

Julian Tohiariki, Southland 

Julian Tohiariki joined the New Zealand Fire Service in 1991 as an operational firefighter, becoming Assistant Area Manager, Southland in 2008. In 2016 Julian took up a position in Wellington with the National Leadership Development team, but returned to Southland the following year, taking on the Area manager role. As District manager for Southland, Julian wants to continue the work he and others have been doing over the last few years in creating a strong and unified Fire and Emergency that supports the people and communities of Southland.