It is with great pleasure that we announce the results of 2020s Celebrating Success Awards for Te Ihu, which were held on 8 December 2020.

Thank you for all the nominations and to everyone for their continued commitment and contributions to the organisation and wider community.

Pictured: Te Ihu winners


Here are the category winners:

Leadership: Jerry Hohneck

In 2017 the Spring Junction VRFF was nothing more than a small garage with an antique Doc trailer, no volunteers, old PPE and not much future. With the creation of Fire and Emergency and the support, perseverance and hard work of Jerry Hohneck, the community have seen the rise of the brigade again. The Brigade is now fully operational and since 2018 has attended more than 50 calls. The Brigade has grown from five to 10 members through Jerry’s hard work in selling the importance of the Brigade to the community and empowering each member to take responsibility for different aspect of the Brigade.


Manaakitanga: Wakefield Brigade

Over the last decade New Zealand has been exposed to several diverse large events, from earthquakes, cyclones, fires, terrorism, volcanic eruption and currently a global pandemic. This led to Wakefield Volunteer Fire Brigade looking at itself to see if it was truly part of a resilient community. The brigade organised a Wakefield Community Alpine Fault Magnitude 8 (AF8), including other local emergency teams such as police, neighbourhood watch, local Iwi and Nelson Tasman Civil Defence. This programme is ongoing and about being proactive, educating and strengthening the Wakefield community. The improvement to work together with inter agencies and community partnerships to building trust and be responsive to any event that may arrive.


Region Managers: Jim Ryburn

The decision to choose Jim Ryburn was based on sheet admiration for the work that Jim has undertaken within his welfare role over the entire region. Jim was the first welfare role to be appointed anywhere in the country. Already a well-established Station Officer with the Christchurch Brigade, Jim filled an absolute need. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Jim organised his clinical welfare support team to ring and check up on almost 3,300 staff (virtually everyone in Te Ihu) and went on to provide support to those volunteer brigades whose employment was impacted by the reduction in tourists from the virus. The job Jim does is not 9 till 5 – he’s been there to support people around the clock. Whether it’s visiting people in hospital, organising support for relatives, sorting accommodation, organising wellness checks for our staff (which is unique to this region) or organising a scheme to allow firefighters to get a comprehensive medical check – Jim is at the centre.


Auahatanga: Research Burns Initiative

Fire and Emergency staff and volunteers from throughout Canterbury, the West Coast and Otago undertook prescribed burning operations in 13 blocks over four days between 25 February and 2 March 2020 to extend mechanical fire breaks around the Upper Rakaia research plots, supporting Scion (who are a Crown Research institute) - Rural Fire Research Group in undertaking experimental burns of mature gorse vegetation. The burns form a key part of Scion’s MBIE-funded research programme (which ends Sept 2021), where Scion are testing the new theory around the role of convection in fire ignition and spread as part of a major project with both domestic (University of Canterbury) and international collaborators (from the US Forest Service and San Jose State University). Scion have completed burns in crop stubble (as the simplest, most uniform fuel type), but still need to complete burns in two more complex, heavier fuel types before the end of the contract. With the help of many Fire and Emergency NZ volunteers and staff the research crew was able to collect data in two research burns on the 2nd March with ~ (roughly equal to) 10 m flame heights and high fire intensity. After the two burns 1 and 2 March, Scion said the majority of the research sensors survived and the teams were able to look at the data over the following days to make sure things ran as they should.


Auahatanga: James Marks

James has autism and struggled to retain things. He had never been to a fire actively, despite being a member for four years. Working with a PRFO and HR, James became the lead for the Disabled Persons Network within Fire and Emergency New Zealand. He is the contact and support person for anyone with a disability that requires anything. James has since received more formal training and attended his first fire this year. He has shown that anyone can service the community in a range of ways.


Kia Tika: Georgia Wilkins

Georgia is always helpful, resourceful and positive in her work and provides a positive and can-do attitude that lifts everyone around her. This professionalism is on display on a daily basis and she was an integral leader of the Clued up Kids (CUK) planning team as well as fully participating with the running of the event itself. The event required a large amount of pre-planning and coordinating across multiple agencies as well as meetings with the Ministry of Education (MoE) so that they supported the initiative and coordinated with the schools to be available for the event. Her efforts kept the various agencies engaged and committed to the initiative, she was the conduit between the MoE, the various schools and the agencies.


Whanaungatanga: Takaka Brigade

Following “Cyclone Gita”, a catastrophic event that cut off road access to Golden Bay, Takaka Fire Station served as the Emergency Operation Centre. The local council service centre was required to remain open to the public which rendered it unable to be used for the Emergency Management Golden Bay response and recovery stages. This led to a review of the local emergency plan and the outcome was that Fire and Emergency has permitted the Takaka Fire Station to be made “fit for purpose”. This is a great outcome for our community and enhances the emergency response. Takaka Fire Station is now the official local EOC and is seen as the go-to facility for multi-agency meetings or trainings.



Leadership: Alan Burgess

Manaakitanga: Bev Tuck

Auahatanga: Don Geddes

Auahatanga: Wayne McColl

Auahatanga: Kerry Ealam

Whanaungatanga: Stuart Harnett

Whanaungatanga: Dave Chivers

Whanaungatanga: Kaikoura Brigade

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