International Women’s Day is coming up on 8 March and is a chance to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.

This International Women’s Day, Fire and Emergency is acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of all women within our organisation and everyone who supports them to succeed.

The theme #ChoosetoChallenge is based on a challenged world being an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.

Since our establishment as Fire and Emergency we have:

  • Launched our organisational values
  • Piloted our Respect and Inclusion Workshops, which include strategies to challenge and address unconscious bias, with 600 of our people. We are now looking at a phased approach on rolling this out to all our regions.
  • Released our Policy to address bullying, harassment, and victimisation and our Code of Behaviour.
  • Implemented the Psychological Wellbeing Programme, which is available to all employees and continued to provide our people with peer support in all regions
  • Established the Behaviour and Conduct Office (BCO), along with our current complaints process, to be the central point for receiving and recording complaints and provide oversight of the management of complaints of unwanted behaviour.


International Women’s Day video conferences

Raewyn Bleakley, Deputy Chief Executive of Office of the Chief Executive, will be hosting two video conferences alongside Rachael Utumapu, Manager Women’s Development, and a panel of some of our incredible operational wāhine. They will be sharing some of their experiences, challenges, what’s improved over time, and to have a conversation on what we can do to better support and empower our women to succeed.

You should have all received an invite for the two video conferences now. If you haven't please contact The panel members are:

Nellie Papali’i, career firefighter, Auckland (1.30pm)

Renee Potae, DPFRO Wairarapa and Station Officer at Masterton Volunteer Fire Brigade (1.30pm and 6.30pm)

Lyn Crosson, Shift Manager at Fire and Emergency Southern Communication Centre (1.30pm and 6.30pm)

Katie Pocock, Senior Station Officer at Takapuna Station (6.30pm)


Local events

There will also be a variety of International Women’s Day events hosted around the country, organised by our people. Check out some of the events below:

  • Taranaki, 10 March from 10.30am-1pm - gathering of all the services hosted by St John at St John Community Hub, 15 Oropurupuri Road
  • Kinloch station and surrounding Brigades, 7 March from 9am-3pm - practical training scenarios and BBQ
  • Balclutha and surrounding Brigades, 7 March – Dinner in Balclutha
  • Masterton, 8 March, from 10am – informal morning tea in Masterton with other emergency services
  • Dunedin – further details to be confirmed
  • Hawke’s Bay, 8 March – Police lead agency, contact for more information.

If you would like to enquire about or attend and IWD event in your region – contact the following:


Women in Fire and Emergency NZ network

Finally, a quick reminder that to better support our women, we have set up Women in Fire and Emergency NZ (WFENZ) networks all throughout our regions. This network promotes and facilitates the participation and success of women within our organisation. If anyone is interested in joining the network or finding out more, head to the Portal(external link) or email

Thank you to all the women within Fire and Emergency, and to those who support them to succeed within our organisation.  We look forward to seeing everyone getting involved.


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