Fire chief’s 33 years with Katikati bri­gade hon­oured

Katikati Advertiser - - News - By KIRI GILLE­SPIE

Katikati chief fire of­fi­cer Hatete Joe Manukau is an unas­sum­ing man proud of his sta­tion, proud of his team and im­mensely proud of his town.

So when he found out he was be­ing awarded a Queen’s Ser­vice Medal for ser­vices to Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand and the com­mu­nity, he was quick to share the honour.

“It’s not about me,” he qui­etly said from in­side Katikati’s fire sta­tion in Sh­effield St.

“It’s about the team. The guys Iwork with and these guys,” he says, ges­tur­ing to the sta­tion’s wall of honours, “who passed away”.

“We were the first bri­gade in the coun­try to have five Gold Stars in one night.”

Gold Stars are pres­ti­gious medals sym­bol­is­ing a vol­un­teer fire­fighter’s 25 years serv­ing the com­mu­nity.

Manukau’s star shines brightly on his ch­est next to three other medals, in­clud­ing a life mem­ber’s medal of the bri­gade.

“It’s a com­mu­nity thing. [The bri­gade is] the bind­ing of this com­mu­nity.”

Manukau’s Queen’s Ser­vice Medal recog­nises his 33 years with the vol­un­teer bri­gade, 16 of which were as fire chief, plus his 40 years as a teacher.

He has also served in sev­eral lead­er­ship roles through­out Katikati’s com­mu­nity and sports groups.

Manukau said his chil­dren and grand chil­dren were his mo­ti­va­tion. Some of his most re­ward­ing mo­ments in­cluded watch­ing some of his Katikati Col­lege stu­dents come through the fire sta­tion’s ranks as young fire­fight­ers.

“Two-thirds ofmy bri­gade aremy ex-stu­dents,” he said. “A lot come to seeme in a dif­fer­ent light. They seeme as chief. That’s an honour in it­self.”

PHOTO: JOHN BORREN

Katikati fire­fighter Joe Manukau is hon­oured to re­ceive a Queen’s Ser­vice Medal for ser­vices to the fire ser­vice and the com­mu­nity.

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