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Fire & Emergency New Zealand

Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrates 150 years serving the Rangiora community

Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrates 150 years serving the Rangiora community

Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigade is celebrating one-and-a-half centuries of serving its community at an event taking place at the station next month.

The brigade was established in 1874, back when Rangiora was a small sawmilling town and fires were put out by bucket brigades.

Since then, the town has grown to a population of nearly 20,000, most significantly after the Christchurch earthquakes, and the volunteer fire brigade has two fire trucks, one tanker, a command unit and 38 volunteer members.

Twenty-five years ago, the town’s volunteer firefighters averaged around 60 call outs a year.

Now they respond to over 400 incidents annually.

They respond to building and vegetation fires, but the increase is due to the medical emergencies, car crashes, search and rescues and natural disasters they are called out to.

The brigade received a commendation for their rescue work at The Press Building in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Life members of the brigade remember a time when personal protective equipment (PPE) wasn’t around but now everyone has full PPE as well as access to psychological support. Women also weren’t involved in the brigade in the early years, and now nine wāhine are part of the crew.

Chief Fire Officer Brook Retallick says, "despite all the change and challenges over 150 years, one thing has remained the same - the brigade’s commitment to keeping the Rangiora community safe and its focus on family."

"The comradery within the brigade and the incredible support from our families and employers haven’t changed," he says.

"This is a chance to celebrate our past and present volunteers, the local businesses who continue to support their employees to turn out and the families of our crew, who sacrifice precious family time for the benefit of our community.

"Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigade has a rich history and we’re incredibly proud of our achievements, but it’s the culture within the brigade that keeps our volunteers here. We have all worked hard to protect the community while juggling our home lives and employment, so this is a chance to pause, reflect and celebrate such a great milestone."

The open day will include:

- A static display featuring fire trucks spanning from 1874 to present day

- Live fire displays showcasing the skill of the firefighters

- Fire safety advice from experts to ensure the community keeps itself safe

- Activities for the kids, food stalls and music

Six life members of Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigade have witnessed the 75th, 100th, 125th and 150th anniversaries. Life members continue to be involved in the brigade, maintaining the trucks at Hall of Flame in Ferrymead and helping where they can. They supported the response to the Christchurch earthquakes by helping with hose washing.

WHAT: 150 years of firefighting in Rangiora

WHEN: 11am - 3pm, Sunday 2 June 2024

WHERE: 134 Percival Street, Rangiora 7400


Find out more at the RVFB - Community Static Display Facebook page.