Fire and Emergency congratulates Honours recipients

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Fire and Emergency congratulates Honours recipients

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board Chair Rebecca Keoghan has congratulated four firefighters and support personnel from Clinton, Kawakawa, Ōpunake and Murchison who have been recognised with Queen’s Service Medals in the 2022 New Year’s Honours list released today.

“It is a privilege to have such public-spirited and dedicated New Zealanders offer their time and skills to serve their communities and Fire and Emergency New Zealand,” says Rebecca Keoghan.

The recipients are:

·       Bill Harris (Clinton) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

·       Wayne Martin (Kawakawa) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand

·       Brian Vincent (Ōpunake) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

·       Paul Wilkins (Murchison) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

“This is well-deserved recognition that reflects the years of hard mahi these four have undertaken to provide for their communities.”

We also congratulate other Fire and Emergency representatives who have been honoured today.

·       Kevin William Evans, Chief Fire Officer of the Ruawai Volunteer Fire Brigade, who has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to wildlife conservation and the community.

·       Gina Blaize Chaffey-Aupouri of Ruatoria, an operational support member of the Tokomaru Bay Volunteer Fire Brigade, who has received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to Maori.

“On behalf of everyone in Aotearoa, I would like to congratulate them all on receiving these very special honours,” says Rebecca Keoghan.

Additional information:

Mr William Mervyn (Bill) Harris (Clinton) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Bill Harris has been involved with Fire and Emergency New Zealand and before that, the New Zealand Fire Service since 1990 and remains active as an operational firefighter and treasurer. He is a general contractor by trade and has volunteered his time and use of machinery to several local projects within the community and region.

Bill Harris was the Chief Fire Officer of the Clinton Fire Brigade for a number of years, attaining his station officer’s qualification in 1998. He was on the committee to establish the Clinton First Responders Unit, is an active first responder, and treasurer and chairman of the First Responder Trust. He has undertaken projects for the local school, golf club, childcare centre, and Lions Club. He is a regular supporter of the Lions Club’s annual Brassica Competition Fundraiser and sponsors the Clinton Senior Citizens bus service.

Bill also provided a loan at a discounted rate to ensure a fuel outlet could be available in Clinton, following closure of the local garage in 2011.

Mr Wayne Calven Martin (Kawakawa) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Wayne Martin of Te Rarawa iwi has been a member of the Kawakawa Volunteer Fire Brigade since 1992 and Chief Fire Officer (CFO) since 2006.

Wayne Martin is a member of Northland’s Chief Fire Officer Leadership Group, mentoring newly appointed CFOs and officers. He has played a major part in positive change management, having held senior roles with the brigade through three restructures. He was instrumental in the establishment of a cadet’s unit within the Kawakawa Brigade. His whānau approach within the brigade has seen initiatives such as local kuia caring for brigade members’ tamariki while attending incidents, and a proactive team delivering fire safety education in homes and the community.

Wayne Martin introduced a tikanga Māori approach at fatal incidents, now a common practice across the region. He was employed as iwi liaison officer with Fire and Emergency New Zealand (and before that, the New Zealand Fire Service) from 2007 to 2018. In this role he built networks through collaboration with the New Zealand Police Iwi Liaison team. He is now a group manager within Northland and has been incident controller for several significant wildfire incidents in the region.

Wayne is coach of Ngāti Hine Kawakawa/Moerewa Rugby team and has coached at representative level.

Mr Brian William Vincent (Ōpunake) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Brian Vincent is a member of the Opunake Volunteer Fire Brigade and has been a volunteer firefighter for 61 years. Brian remains active in a brigade support role. He is one of Fire and Emergency’s longest serving volunteers.

Brian attained the rank of senior firefighter and was a representative on the Taranaki Provincial Fire Brigade Association and a United Fire Brigades Association (UFBA) delegate. His involvement with the Ōpunake water scheme, from laying pipes to maintaining them, has made his knowledge an invaluable asset to the brigade.

Brian has been involved with Ōpunake RSA for many years and is currently president. He was an elected member of Egmont Plains Community Board from 2007 to 2019 and continues as an advisor. He has been a member of the local community transport group since 2015, volunteering his time to transport people to hospital and other appointments in New Plymouth 50 kilometres away. He has been a member of the Opunake Lions Club since 1989, helping with numerous community projects.

Brian is also a member of the Ōpunake Civil Defence committee, and he works with the Department of Corrections to coordinate and oversee tasks for community service workers. He has been on the committee of the community-owned and operated cinema, fundraising for refurbishment of the cinema and volunteering in front-of-house roles. Brian also volunteers with the Cape Egmont Lighthouse and Museum as a guide for visitors.

Mr Paul Henry Wilkins (Murchison) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Paul Wilkins has contributed to his community through Search and Rescue, Scouts and Fire and Emergency New Zealand for 35 years.

Paul became a volunteer firefighter with the Murchison Fire Brigade in 1983, later becoming Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 1999 and then Chief Fire Officer (CFO) in 2004, a role he held until his retirement in 2017. As the CFO, Paul organised volunteers to respond to callouts between Nelson and Christchurch. He is a life member of Murchison Volunteer Fire Brigade and of the Gold Star Association after receiving a Gold Star for his long service.

Paul has been a scout leader and a member of Search and Rescue and Civil Defence for several years. He has helped with local ambulance services and trained to be a first responder for St John. He organises working bees through his church for projects around his community including flood control of the local river. He is the first aider for local rugby clubs and has dressed up as Santa Claus for several organisations including Playcentre and the Christmas Street Gala.

Paul was also a recipient of the Community Award in 2014 for his outstanding service to the community.

Mr Kevin William Evans (Ruawai) – Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to wildlife conservation and the community.

Kevin Evans is the Captive and Reintroduction Coordinator for the Department of Conservation’s Pāteke (brown teal) Recovery Group, a voluntary position he has held since 1998.

Mr Evans has played an integral role in the Pāteke’s recovery from ‘endangered’ to ‘recovering’ status, as the population has increased from just 700 birds to more than 3,000 over 20 years. He manages the network of 16 volunteer captive breeding facilities across New Zealand, which is the largest and most successful “bred for release” programme in the Southern Hemisphere. He has led new initiatives developing reintroduction techniques while working with landowners to create predator free environments. He is the co-author of the Pāteke Husbandry Manual and has created online and social media resources to educate and increase awareness of the Pāteke. He has presented internationally and nationally on the Pāteke recovery project. He has served 13 years on the Northland Conservation Board, been a Councillor for the Northland Fish and Game Council, and a warranted Firearms Safety Instructor for the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council for 20 years. Mr Evans is currently the Chief Fire Officer of the Ruawai Volunteer Fire Brigade and has served 27 years.

Gina Blaize Chaffey-Aupouri of Ruatoria – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Maori

Mrs Gina Chaffey-Aupouri has been an advocate for Ngati Porou through health education as a nurse and empowerment for whānau, hapu and iwi through community development.

Mrs Chaffey-Aupouri focuses on Māori health education, engaging with schools in the Tairāwhiti area to promote Health Education topics such as Puberty Education, applying her understanding of tikanga. She was the New Zealand Nurses Organisation delegate for Ngati Porou Hauora from 1994, representing her iwi and addressing Māori inequity. She has volunteered for Comet Swimming Club since 2000, refereeing and timekeeping at regional and national levels. She coached children from ages four to eighteen with Ruatōria Swimming Club, contributing to the Life Tairāwhiti Project which focuses on teaching tamariki water skills for life. Her understanding of the language, culture and spirituality of Ngati Porou is reflected through her commitments to various community events such as organising and supportingkapa haka groups and travelling with the elders to support the kaupapa. She was instrumental in leading more than 200 families to gather for the first Puna Reo in Ngati Porou to continue the learnings of the iwi and organising Ngati Porou inter-Marae sports. Mrs Chaffey-Aupouri was Treasurer then Vice President of Ngati Uepohatu Māori Women’s Welfare League from 2002 and was made a Life Member in 2021.