Sharing the results of the Te Kei region's Ngā Tohu Raukura (Symbols of Excellence) Awards, which were presented on Wednesday 9 November at a ceremony in Dunedin with Russell Wood, DCE Service Delivery Operations.

Nominations for these awards were received from around Te Kei, and the criteria for evaluating them are based on Fire and Emergency’s values.  This is the first year we have been able to present the awards in person. The 2022 event was postponed twice due to COVID, and in the end was held virtually.

Check out the full list of award winners and photos from the evening.


Winners and Finalists


Here are our winners and finalists in this year’s awards, along with special guest Russell Wood and Region Manager Mike Grant. From left: James Walker, Brent Shepherd, Bronwyn Pocklington, Russell Wood, Viv Reiber, Scott Lanauze, Phillip Bentley, John Sturgeon, Scott Lindsay, Cheryl Moeke, Mike Grant


The Awards


Operational Efficiency

Winners - the Edendale and Wyndham Volunteer Fire Brigades for their collaborative effort to ensure that the Edendale Brigade could continue responding to calls when the COVID vaccination mandate was in force. CFOs James Walker and Brent Shepherd enlisted support from Fonterra to enable Wyndham brigade staff who worked at the Edendale Dairy Factory to turn out for the Edendale brigade during the day.
Finalist - Scott Lanauze for his work to improve the efficiency of the Risk Reduction Team by creating an automated workflow.


Championing Diversity/Inclusion/and Respect

Winner - Viv Reiber for her successful efforts to keep Region HQ staff connected during the 2022 COVID resurgence. Viv organised virtual team events throughout the weeks where staff were isolated from each other, or working in bubbles with limited contact. Her enthusiasm and commitment helped people stay connected and supported.



Winner - John Sturgeon, former Chief Fire Officer of the Kurow Volunteer Fire Brigade. John served 43 years as CFO out of his 49 years' service as a volunteer firefighter. His leadership, skills and experience have left a lasting legacy and benefitted the greater Waitaki community as well as his brigade and fellow firefighters.

Finalist - Trevor Tidey of Earnslaw One, for his leadership in rural fires over many years and his continuing involvement as a subject matter expert on the Te Kei Complex Burn Review Group.



Winner - Scott Lanauze for creating a new system of automated workflows that have improved the efficiency of the Risk Reduction Team. Scott designed the process using Sharepoint and Teams, and trained the staff on how to use it. His system is now being considered for roll-out nationally.

Finalist - Sally Chesterfield for making up-to-date information on fireground hazards available to everyone entering the area affected by the Awarua wildfire. Sally did this by adding a QR code on the fixed signs around the perimeter, linked to a live map.


Going Above and Beyond

Winner - Phillip Bentley, Senior Station Officer of the Millers Flat Volunteer Fire Brigade and Deputy Fire Force Controller of the Teviot Brigade, for his commitment to continuous improvement, operational capability and the wellbeing of his brigades. Phillip is known for thinking outside the box for the betterment of his brigades.

Finalists - Scott Lanauze for the sustained effort in creating a new automated workflow;

  • Cheryl Moeke for her commitment to ensuring that volunteers received the support they needed to succeed at training that had to be delivered online because of the COVID resurgence; 
  • Bronwyn Pocklington for her dedication and commitment to strengthening relationships with career, support and volunteer personnel throughout Otago, and helping ensure that the District consistently meets its KPIs.


Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Winner - Scott Lindsay for his contribution to the safety of Te Kei's people during the COVID vaccine mandate. Scott is also an ambassador for Safety Health and Wellbeing in Southland District and is active within the District Safety Health and Wellbeing Committee.


Our taonga (treasures)

These eight taonga were created by Dunedin sculptor KEA JADE - Pounamu by Kendall Allum for Te Kei in 2021 to be our enduring symbols of excellence. The eight represent the paddles or hoe of our waka (Te Kei being the stern of the canoe). Each hoe is unique, made from a different piece of pounamu sourced from around the South Island. The handles are made of Dunedin basalt. The names of each year’s winners will be engraved on a plaque when the taonga go on permanent display in the Te Kei Region Office next year. Each winner receives a miniature trophy to keep. These are shaped to represent the stern of the waka, Te Kei.

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