By Beckie Wilson
A ten-year project has finally paid off with the Wairarapa rural fire service now bosting a full complement of fire engines.
The last of the eight trucks was added to the Wainuioru fire station this week, which comes only weeks before the merger of Wairarapa and Tararua Rural Fire services.
Wairarapa Rural Fire District community and education co-ordinator and Mauriceville rural firefighter, Grant Detheridge-Davies, said this is quite an achievement as each truck is worth over $160,000 plus a lot of gear.
The eight sites — Castlepoint, Tinui, Riversdale Beach, Mauriceville, Wainuioru, Tora, Ngawi and Lake Ferry – boast a total of 110 volunteers.
The new trucks will improve the response time in the rural area, as they are faster, Mr Detheridge-Davies said.
Over the past decade, the New Zealand Fire Service Commission and rural rate payers have funded the fleet.
Combining the Wairarapa and Tararua Rural Fire services will establish a rural fire district of just over a million hectares as part of Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).
The Tararua District Council Rural Fire Authority has 66 volunteers across Weber, Te Uri, Herbertville, Akitio and Tiraumea.
The new legislation will come into effect on July 1, which all urban and rural fire services across the country with merge together to form FENZ.
Over the next three years, it will build a modern service integrating all elements of the current service: urban, rural, volunteer and paid firefighting forces.
The fire services was an integral part of the community and in many places doubled as a response agency in the event of a Civil Defence disaster such as earthquakes or flooding, Mr Detheridge-Davies said.