They started fighting fires in 1912 with a “chemical engine” that poured more chemicals onto them than the flames. They now have two high-tech engines, a rescue tender and skills that are the equal of big-city professionals. They will race from their beds at 2.00 am in the filthiest weather – and they do it all for the love of their community.
Motueka Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrates its centenary at Labour Weekend, which is sure to involve much reminiscing about the big ones such as the Unilever blaze, the huge Kaiteriteri bushfire in ’83, the aircraft that crashed into a house, the arson spree of 1997, and a race over the hill to Takaka to help fight the Fonterra blaze.
Public celebrations of the centenary begin with a parade down High Street at 11.15 am on 20 October 2012. The action shifts to Decks Reserve for fire truck displays, a kitchen fire demonstration, a visit at 12.30 pm by the Nelson-Marlborough rescue helicopter, plus a bouncy castle and free ice creams for the kids. Past and present firefighters, their families and friends will gather in the evening for a dinner-dance.