Sixteen Fire and Emergency personnel received their Australian National Emergency Medals with Bushfires 19/20 Clasp at the Australian High Commission in Wellington on Wednesday 14 September, with more to be presented in the coming months.

Our people received their medals alongside recipients from the New Zealand Defence Force to recognise the hard mahi of all those who were deployed to the devastating bushfires in Australia in 2019/20. 

During the summer of 2019/20 enormous bushfires engulfed Australia’s east coast, burning through approximately 143,000 square kilometres, destroying more than 3,000 buildings, and claiming the lives at least 34 people. 

Over that summer, a 208-strong Fire and Emergency contingent, which included 58 firefighters from Department of Conservation and a number of forestry companies, travelled to Australia to help with the response. They worked many long, hot hours in extremely challenging conditions fighting those fires. Their outstanding mahi has now been recognised by the Australian Government with the Australian National Emergency Medal, with Bushfires 19/20 Clasp.

The National Emergency Medal is awarded by the Australian Government for sustained or significant service during national emergencies in Australia. It has a clasp for each event to indicate the specific national emergency. The medal has been awarded for five emergencies, the first being the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. This is the first time people from Fire and Emergency and these other organisations have been awarded the medal.

Over the coming months, all Fire and Emergency personnel who deployed to Australia will be presented with their medals, as well as personnel that were deployed with from NZDF, Department of Conservation and the forestry companies.

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