Ja­panese ad­ven­ture awaits fire­fight­ers

PORIRUA’S SIS­TER CITIES

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The ab­seil­ing and karaoke skills of Plim­mer­ton Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade will be pushed to the limit in Septem­ber.

Six mem­bers of the bri­gade – Graeme Penty, Jon Knee­bone, Trudie Camp­bell, Emma Peel, Tony Su­to­rius and Blair McLach­lan – will head to Nishio, Ja­pan, as part of an ex­change.

Dur­ing the week-long trip, the group train will with their coun­ter­parts in for­est, wa­ter and ur­ban res­cue sce­nar­ios.

‘‘There is an ab­seil­ing el­e­ment to some of what the Nishio fire­fight­ers do, so that’ll be in­ter­est­ing for our guys,’’ trip or­gan­iser and bri­gade mem­ber Graeme Penty said.

‘‘The Nishio team are in­cred­i­bly ef­fi­cient, pedan­tic in a good way and have great equip­ment, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot.

‘‘We’ll cer­tainly find out bet­ter ways of stream­lin­ing our train­ing.’’

Each of the six needs to raise up to $4000 to get to Ja­pan. Porirua City Coun­cil gave the bri­gade $3000 from its sis­ter cities budget.

The Plim­mer­ton team will take boots and over­alls with them to Nishio.

The group will have an in­ter­preter, al­though Penty said get­ting that per­son to climb a 45m high lad­der as in­struc­tions were be­ing shouted was un­likely.

A re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ment is in Porirua has two sis­ter cities, Nishio ( Ja­pan) and Black­town (just out of Syd­ney, Aus­tralia), as well as friendly city ar­range­ments with Bamiyan (Afghanistan) and Yangzhou (China).

Porirua City Coun­cil has a budget of $67,845 for sis­ter city ac­tiv­i­ties this fi­nan­cial year.

A del­e­ga­tion to Black­town in May un­veiled pou in the city’s New Zealand Gar­den.

Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager com­mu­nity ser­vices Euan Dempsey said the sis­ter cities budget fluc­tu­ated from year to year as it was re­viewed.

Grants were avail­able to com­mu­nity groups and schools to place, so Nishio fire­fight­ers will come to New Zealand in the fu­ture.

Though there will not be a lot of down­time in Nishio, Penty said he ex­pected karaoke to be on the agenda af­ter the se­ri­ous train­ing was done.

‘‘I’m not sure how that’s go­ing to go. We’ll need to brush up on our favourite songs.

‘‘At the end of the day, this trip is a chance to train se­ri­ously as fire­fight­ers, but it is an op­por­tu­nity to get out of your own sphere and in­ter­act with people from other cul­tures. It’s a chall- ap­ply for, but the up­take had dropped off in re­cent years as the econ­omy had bit, Dempsey said.

Ex­hi­bi­tions, stu­dent ex­changes and even hav­ing a group com­ing reg­u­larly to tend the Ja­panese Gar­den at Pataka are part of the sis­ter cities ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘The re­la­tion­ship with these cities is im­por­tant be­cause it pro­motes the ex­change of ideas and cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion,’’ Dempsey said.

‘‘ His­tor­i­cally, the links with Black­town and Nishio are strong and it’s hard to just dis­miss it.

‘‘But you do need to con­stantly re­fresh what you’re do­ing and re­view.’’

enge we’re go­ing to en­joy.’’

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