Yesterday I spent the day at Waitangi, where Fire and Emergency attended the commemorations and engaged with families visiting the Waitangi festival. Thank you to our great Fire and Emergency crew from Northland for your hospitality and for the way you engaged with the crowds.

While I was there, I recorded this short video message. In it I share some of the special moments for Fire and Emergency during this year’s Waitangi Day events, and acknowledge the work of our firefighters battling fires in Nelson and their efforts to protect life and property.

Here’s a summary of my video message:

This has been a big week for all of us. On 1 February the new Executive Leadership Team was established. On Monday we had the pōwhiri to formally welcome them into the organisation, although some won’t start for a few weeks to come.

It has also been a big week event-wise. Down in Nelson we’re fighting a large fire. I want to shout out to the crews who were working yesterday and overnight. It looks as if we might be fighting that fire for quite a few days to come.

Once again, it is a chance for us to show that we have formed a very tight and effective organisation, with the coming together of Rural and Urban capabilities.

This morning's Dawn Service at Waitangi was the very first time a fire organisation was able to deliver a karakia. It was a great honour for me to be able to stand up on behalf of Fire and Emergency to do that.

The messages that I gave to New Zealand were that we’re committed to the defence of our communities, to the preservation of life, and the protection of property and the environment.

But more importantly, we need to be an organisation that values respect and values the diversity we have within our organisation, as well as the diversity and respect to the communities we serve. It is important in this week when we’ve launched the Coral Shaw Review, that we do live up to that. This is not just a passing moment; it is something we need to ensure is driven into the culture we’re creating for the new Fire and Emergency.

Let this be one of the many steps we’re taking as we create that new organisation.

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