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Baking for first responders

Eva Ross, 10, from Greytown, with a delivery of baking. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

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Carterton’s chief fire officer Bryan Styles reckons he shouldn’t eat more cakes and pies but said the volunteer fire brigade was thrilled and “honoured” to receive baking from Wairarapa Good Bitches Baking.

The bakers presented a spread of cakes, iced cupcakes, slices and pies with thank you notes. They donated the baking because they felt the crew had been having a tough time recently.

Member of the baking team Karen O’Connor said the baking was to acknowledge the crew were first responders at the car crash that killed long-term Carterton resident, the Rev Jenny Henson. The accident happened next to the fire station on June 19.

Wairarapa GBB chapter leader Helen Marr said she joined the group because it was a way to help, and a skill she enjoyed.

“Baking is therapy really, and a way for us to be connected to the community,” Marr said.

“When I am baking, I am immersed in it and am free to be creative, it is a tangible result of that creative expression and very well received.”

Marr said the baking crew don’t normally bake for the fire brigade but a Carterton member strongly felt they deserved a boost.

Bryan Styles was happy to receive a bacon and egg pie along with other baking for the Carterton Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Styles said he was humbled by the generosity and it came on a night when he was training new volunteers, so it was a great way for the crew to start.

There were daily reminders in Carterton of the fatal car crash last month. But he said fire service training included strategies to cope with stress.

During his 40 years in the service he has come across some grim scenes and other Carterton fire officers were the first responders to the 1992 house fire and murder of Lou Tawhai.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has a Critical Stress Incident Team and that service was triggered after the car crash. The Carterton volunteer crew has a female member who offers peer support.

GBB is a national organisation of women which provides baking for various organisations who assist people who have need. Criteria to guide decisions on who would receive free baking include need, and that the organisations are non-denominational and open to all.

The two female founders have each been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal.

In Wairarapa, GBB has baked for Women’s Refuge and Hospice for example. One of their mission statements on their website is to ‘Make Aotearoa the Kindest Place on Earth’.

  • GBB Wairarapa has 74 baking members and welcomes new members, including men. It can be contacted at: [email protected]


  1. Nice one Karen and the first responders. Acts of kindness is so valued in these days. ???????

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