Time to go, says fireman
Porirua’s chief fire safety officer Russell Postlewaight said Wayne Halvorsen was a ‘‘gentleman’’ he was proud to have worked with.
Mr Halvorsen might be taking early retirement in April, but don’t expect that to slow him down.
The 62-year-old completed 35 years with the Fire Service on February 9 – all of it spent in Porirua and on the same watch.
His links with the service go back further, starting out as a volunteer with Titahi Bay’s brigade.
‘‘I was a builder by trade but the opportunity came up to go full-time as a firefighter and I’ve been here ever since.
‘‘There’s a lot of cameraderie. It’s got a good social side and you’re doing something for your community. It’s a job I’ve had a lot of satisfaction out of.’’
Mr Halvorsen says the Porirua station is a soughtafter posting, with not many dull moments. Titahi Bayraised, he has spent the last 40 years living on the Kapiti Coast, but turned down the opportunity to work up there.
‘‘I don’t like the commute, but you get used to it.
‘‘ I’ve loved being here because it’s so busy – we’re situated close to the motorway, there’s been scrub fires and school fires over the years. We had the train derailment [ in Plimmerton last year] and I can remember wading out in Pauatahanui Inlet after a plane ditched in there.
‘‘ There’s been so many events and incidents I’ve attended, you lose track.’’
But a knee injury last year – falling down a bank in torrential rain on the job – and getting treatment for cancer gave the well-respected firefighter pause and made the decision to retire that much easier.
‘‘ Having nine months off [with the knee] eased me into this, really, and the cancer makes you re-evaluate things.
‘‘You get to a point in time when you have other goals in life. It will be hard to go, but I’m not just suddenly walking out the door.’’
Retirement won’t be about leisurely games of golf and smelling the roses, however.
He and wife Kerrin, who have taken in overseas students from Kapiti College for many years, have planned a year-long OE.
They leave in May to visit a number of countries in South America and Europe. They have free accommodation for months, he says.
Being of Norwegian descent, he will get the opportunity to do a bit of research into his family while in that part of the world.
Once back in New Zealand, he and Kerrin intend to buy a motor home and tour the country, and maybe Australia as well.
‘‘I’ve enjoyed the fire service immensely, these guys are like my second family.
‘‘It’s kept me fit, I love the work and I will miss it. But I said to myself ‘the day I can’t do the job anymore, I will leave’, and it’s just time to go.’’
The fire is out: After more than three decades at Porirua fire station, Wayne Halvorsen is calling it quits.