Head fire guy takes on Ro­tary role

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Back af­ter a four month sec­ond­ment in Welling­ton, the man in charge of Manawatu’s Fire Ser­vice has re­turned with ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

In Au­gust, Manawatu area com­man­der and Palmer­ston North’s chief fire of­fi­cer Mitchell Brown headed to the cap­i­tal as the ser­vice’s prin­ci­pal ad­viser for fire risk man­age­ment.

The role saw him sup­port­ing the lower North Is­land’s six area com­man­ders and Fire Safe ini­tia­tives.

Ap­pointed as Manawatu area com­man­der in 2009, his re­turn on the eve of an­other ma­jor re­or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Fire Ser­vice car­ries ad­di­tional sig­nif­i­cance.

Last month, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced plans to bring ur­ban and ru­ral fire ser­vices to­gether into one uni­fied fire ser­vices or­gan­i­sa­tion, merg­ing 52 ru­ral fire au­thor­i­ties, the Na­tional Ru­ral Fire Author­ity, and the New Zealand Fire Ser­vice, from April 2016.

‘‘The new or­gan­i­sa­tion will be a na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion un­der one um­brella,’’ Mitchell says.

With this pe­riod of sig­nif­i­cant change ahead, Mitchell has also been se­lected as Ro­tary Dis­trict 9940’s dis­trict gov­er­nor for 2017 – 18.

The role re­quires a two year ‘ap­pren­tice­ship’’ be­fore he takes over as head of 58 lower North Is­land Ro­tary clubs that spread from Welling­ton up the east coast to Dan­nevirke, and up the west coast to Waitara, while in­clud­ing Ohakune and Tai­hape.

‘‘You spend two years in prepa­ra­tion watch­ing how to do the job. It’s sig­nif­i­cant be­cause, as far as we are aware, it’s the first time some­one from the Fire Ser­vice has been nom­i­nated and se­lected as a dis­trict gov­er­nor.’’

He sees the Fire Ser­vice – Ro­tary align­ment as ‘‘fan­tas­tic net­work­ing-wise’’ bring­ing ‘‘huge lo­cal and vo­ca­tional sup­port’’ for Ro­tary projects, such as its in­volve­ment in Wild-base and youth pro­grammes.

‘‘It will make a dif­fer­ence for Palmer­ston North. It’s good to have some­one lo­cal, and there are so many ways of sup­port­ing Ro­tary pro­grammes.’’

A Ro­tary mem­ber since 1991, Mitchell ar­rived in Palmer­ston North from Auck­land to look af­ter fire risk man­age­ment in 2001.

‘‘Palmer­ston North is the fourth old­est club in New Zealand. Ro­tary was founded in Chicago in 1905, and came to New Zealand in 1921. Palmer­ston North was es­tab­lished in 1924. Now there are five clubs in town.’’


Fire hat, Ro­tary jacket: Manawatu Fire area com­man­der Mitchell Brown is preparing to be a dis­trict gov­er­nor for Ro­tary’s lower North Is­land clubs.

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