Kei ngā ihuoneone, kei ngā taituarā o te tari, tēnei ka mihi. (To the hard workers and supporters of our organisation, I greet you.)

It seems such a long time ago that we launched our very first Board Update, all the way back in April 2016. It's a bit of an understatement to say a lot has happened since then, most notably the introduction of our new legislation – the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017, and the amalgamation of the New Zealand Fire Service, the National Rural Fire Authority, 12 enlarged rural fire districts and 26 territorial authority rural fire authorities into a single new organisation.

Over this time the Board Update has tried to keep you informed of Board activities and progress towards establishing a new organisation, and it has been great to feature just some of the excellent work our people do.

With the first 100 days of our new organisation now past us, we will be introducing a number of new ways to keep you updated on progress. This includes a new 'Fire and Emergency Update' as the monthly source of news and stories from the organisation from now on, as well as Portal News, which you can download for iPhone or Android phones, and regular video updates from Chief Executive Rhys Jones as he visits people around the country. You can watch his first video here:

UFBA Conference

United Fire Brigades’ Association (UFBA) brigade delegates cast their vote unanimously in favour of a proposed merger with the Forest and Rural Fires Association of New Zealand (FRFANZ). Credit – UFBA.

Board member Peter Drummond and I attended the United Fire Brigades’ Association (UFBA) 139th Annual Conference in Auckland over the weekend, and as usual it was a fantastic event, with some great discussion with delegates from around the country.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Leading Together’, which fits in with the Board’s commitment to work with the people of Fire and Emergency, their unions and associations, and our partner organisation to ‘co-design’ our new organisation together. Rhys and I gave presentations on some milestones coming up over the next three years, what a new operating model for Fire and Emergency could look like, and next steps for uniform.

Our presentations were filmed, and will be uploaded to the Portal this week, so that people who weren’t at the conference also have an opportunity to catch up on these discussions.

The Board would like to commend Auckland Operational Support for the entertainment they put on for brigade delegates on Friday evening, which focused on diversity. A link to this will also be uploaded to the Portal this week.

The Board was pleased to hear UFBA delegates voted unanimously in favour of a proposed merger with FRFANZ, after FRFANZ’s vote in favour of this at their annual conference in August. This move builds on the memorandum of understanding both organisations signed in July 2016 to give volunteer firefighters a single united voice during the transition phase, and the Board looks forward to continue working closely with all our unions and associations, over the next three years.

NZPFU Conference - November

This month Rhys will be also be attending the New Zealand Professional Firefighters’ Union (NZPFU) Annual Conference in Akaroa from 28 – 29 November, and along with members from the Integration team, will be attending meetings of the Northern, Central, and Southern NZPFU branches to provide an update on integration progress and upcoming milestones.

Looking ahead

We are also expecting the release of two important documents in November.

The first is the release of the Port Hills operational review this week. Later in the month we will also be releasing written summary and a visual guide of our plan for the next stage of Fire and Emergency New Zealand – the integration phase, where we bring urban and rural together towards unification over the next three years. This will be sent to all our people via email and will also be uploaded to the Portal.

A scene from the recent Mt Prospect fire near Te Anau – which was contained thanks to the efforts of urban and rural crews. Credit – Connor Moffat.

On that topic the Board would also like to commend the recent efforts of everyone who was involved in containing a large vegetation fire on Mt Prospect near Te Anau last week. It was another fantastic example of local urban brigades and volunteer rural fire forces, including the Department of Conservation and a forestry crew, working together to serve our communities.

Following our regional visit to Hawkes Bay in August, the Board have a Auckland regional visit planned this month. We’re looking forward to more of these regional visits next year, the first of which will be held in the South Island.

50 Year Medals and a Centennial

Congratulations to Donald McMillan (CFO Southbridge) and Pat Fitzell (AM Taranaki / CFO New Plymouth - originally Matamata), who were awarded 50 Year Medals in October. Thank you Donald and Pat for your outstanding service and commitment to your communities.

Congratulations are also due to Manunui Volunteer Fire Brigade, who celebrated 100 years of service to their community on 28 October.

The next Board Update will be published in the first quarter of next year. For now, the Board would once again like to extend our thanks to everyone who has contributed towards the establishment of Fire and Emergency NZ.

We hope the Board Update has been helpful during this time. Now we need to update the way we keep you informed of integration progress and other news and events. I’m confident our new approach will do just that.

Kāti rā mo tēnei wā.
(That’s all for now)

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