Longtime Kawakawa Fire Chief Wayne Martin Honored

Kawakawa Fire Chief Wayne Martin receives his Queen’s Service Medal from Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro. Photo / Office of the Governor General

Kawakawa Fire Chief Wayne Martin was presented with his Queen’s Service Medal by the new Governor General and fellow Northlander Dame Cindy Kiro.

The investiture ceremony took place at Government House in Wellington on Friday.

Martin, who began volunteering with the Kawakawa Fire Department in 1992 and has been a fire chief since 2006, is credited with introducing the Māori tikanga into the daily work of firefighters, today Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) , for example at the scene of fatal accidents.

His methods have since been adopted across Northland.

Martin helped set up a cadet unit to bring young people into the brigade and his whānau approach has led to initiatives such as local kuia who look after the children of volunteers while they attend roll calls.

He also coaches the Ngāti Hine Moerewa-United Kawakawa rugby team.

Martin credited the “village” that raised him – particularly people like iwi police liaison Paddy Whiu and kaumātua Wiremu Wiremu – for his award.

Martin’s QSM for services to FENZ was announced on December 31.

Other recipients of Northland’s New Year’s Honors were Health and Community Advocate Sir Chris Farrelly KNZM, Artist Alex Nathan ONZM, Principal Pat Newman MNZM, Musician Margery Pita MNZM, Environmentalist William Wright MNZM , educator Louise Ānaru-Tangira MNZM, GP Graeme Fenton MNZM, traffic safety activist John Williamson QSM and astronomer Jane Painter QSM.

Dame Cindy is to be officially welcomed into her role this week with ceremonies at her marae in Mōtatau, near Kawakawa, and Te Whare Rūnanga (the carved meeting house) on the treaty grounds.

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