Fire and emergency honors recipients congratulations


New Zealand Fire and Emergency Board Chairperson Rebecca Keoghan congratulated four firefighters and support staff from Clinton, Kawakawa, ÅŒpunake and Murchison who received the Queen’s Service Medals in the list of the 2022 New Year honors released today.

“It is a privilege to have such dedicated and dedicated New Zealanders volunteering their time and skills to serve their communities and Fire and Emergency New Zealand,” said Rebecca Keoghan.

The recipients are:


Bill harris (Clinton) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for service to firefighters and emergencies in New Zealand and to the community

Wayne martin
(Kawakawa) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for Fire and Emergency Services in New Zealand

Brian vincent (ÅŒpunake) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for service to New Zealand fire and emergency services and the community

Paul Wilkins (Murchison) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to New Zealand fire and emergency services and the community

“This is a well-deserved recognition that reflects the years of hard mahi these four have taken to provide for their communities.”

We also congratulate Gina Blaize Chaffey-Aupouri, an operational support member of the Tokomaru Bay Volunteer Fire Brigade, who received the Queen’s Service Medal for service to the Maori.

“On behalf of all the people of Aotearoa, I want to congratulate them on receiving this very special honor,” said Rebecca Keoghan.

Additional information:

Mr. William Mervyn (Bill) Harris (Clinton) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for service to firefighters and emergencies in New Zealand and to the community

Bill Harris has been involved with Fire and Emergency New Zealand and prior to that the New Zealand Fire Service since 1990 and remains active as an operational firefighter and treasurer. He is a general contractor by trade and has devoted his time and his use of machinery to several local projects within the community and the region.

Bill Harris was the Fire Chief of the Clinton Fire Brigade for a number of years, graduating as a Station Officer in 1998. He was on the committee to establish the Clinton First Responder Unit, is an active first responder, and treasurer and chair of the first responder trust. He has undertaken projects for the local school, golf club, daycare and Lions Club. He regularly supports the Lions Club’s annual fundraiser for the Brassica competition and sponsors the Clinton Senior Citizens bus service.

Bill also provided a loan at a reduced rate to ensure that a fuel outlet could be available in Clinton, after the local garage closed in 2011.

Mr. Wayne Calven Martin (Kawakawa) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for service to firefighters and emergencies in New Zealand and to the community

Wayne Martin of Te Rarawa iwi has been a member of the Kawakawa Volunteer Fire Brigade since 1992 and Fire Chief (CFO) since 2006.

Wayne Martin is a member of the Northland Fire Chief’s Executive Group, overseeing CFOs and newly appointed officers. He played a major role in the positive management of change, having held leadership positions within the brigade during three restructurings. He was instrumental in creating a cadet unit within the Kawakawa Brigade. His whānau approach within the brigade saw initiatives such as local kuia tending to the tamariki of brigade members during incidents, and a proactive team providing fire safety education in homes and the community.

Wayne Martin introduced a Tikanga Maori approach to fatal incidents, a practice now common in the region. He was employed as the iwi Liaison Officer with Fire and Emergency New Zealand (and before that, the New Zealand Fire Service) from 2007 to 2018. In this role, he built networks by working with the Liaison Team of the New Zealand Police Iwi. He is now a group leader with Northland and has served as an incident controller for several major forest fires in the region.

Wayne is the coach of the Ngāti Hine Kawakawa / Moerewa rugby team and has coached at the representative level.

Mr. Brian William Vincent (ÅŒpunake) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for service to firefighters and emergencies in New Zealand and to the community

Brian Vincent is a member of the Opunake Volunteer Fire Brigade and has been a volunteer firefighter for 61 years. Brian remains active in a brigade support role. He is one of Fire and Emergency’s longest-serving volunteers.

Brian reached the rank of senior firefighter and was a representative of the Taranaki Provincial Association of Firefighters and a delegate of the United Firefighters Association (UFBA). His involvement in the ÅŒpunake aqueduct project, from laying the pipes to maintaining them, made his knowledge an invaluable asset to the brigade.

Brian has been involved with ÅŒpunake RSA for many years and is currently President. He was an elected member of the Egmont Plains Community Council from 2007 to 2019 and continues as a councilor. He’s been a member of the local community transport group since 2015, volunteering his time to transport people to hospital and other appointments in New Plymouth 50 kilometers away. He has been a member of the Opunake Lions Club since 1989, participating in many community projects.

Brian is also a member of the ÅŒpunake Civil Defense Committee and works with the Corrections Department to coordinate and supervise the duties of community service workers. He served on the community owned and operated cinema committee, raised money for cinema renovations, and volunteered in storefront roles. Brian also volunteers with the Cape Egmont Lighthouse and Museum as a guide for visitors.

Mr. Paul Henry Wilkins (Murchison) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for service to firefighters and emergencies in New Zealand and to the community

Paul Wilkins has contributed to his community through Search and Rescue, Boy Scouts and Fire and Emergency Services in New Zealand for 35 years.

Paul became a volunteer firefighter with the Murchison Fire Department in 1983, then became Deputy Fire Chief in 1999, then Fire Chief (CFO) in 2004, a position he held until his retirement in 2017. In As CFO, Paul organized volunteers to answer calls between Nelson and Christchurch. He is a life member of the Murchison Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Gold Star Association after receiving a Gold Star for his long service.

Paul was a Scout Leader and a member of Search and Rescue and Civil Defense for several years. He helped with local ambulance services and was trained to be a first responder for St John. He organizes bee work through his church for projects around his community, including controlling the flooding of the local river. He is a first aid worker for local rugby clubs and has dressed up as Santa Claus for several organizations including Playcentre and the Christmas Street Gala.

Paul also received the Community Award in 2014 for his outstanding service to the community.

Ms. Gina Chaffey-Aupouri – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services rendered to Maori.

Gina Chaffey-Aupouri defended Ngati Porou through health education as a nurse and the empowerment of whānau, hapu and iwi through community development.

Ms. Chaffey-Aupouri focuses on Maori health education, engaging with schools in the Tairāwhiti area to promote health education topics such as puberty education, applying her understanding of the tikanga. She was the New Zealand Nurses Organization delegate for Ngati Porou Hauora from 1994, representing her iwi and fighting against Maori inequalities. She has volunteered for the Comet Swimming Club since 2000, referee and timekeeper at regional and national levels. She has coached children aged four to eighteen with the Ruatōria Swimming Club, contributing to the Life Tairāwhiti project which focuses on teaching the aquatic skills of tamariki for life. His understanding of Ngati Porou language, culture and spirituality is reflected in his commitments to various community events such as organizing and supporting kapa haka groups and traveling with elders to support kaupapa. She helped bring over 200 families to come together for the first Puna Reo in Ngati Porou in order to continue learning iwi and organize Ngati Porou inter-Marae sports. Ms. Chaffey-Aupouri was Treasurer and then Vice-President of the Ngati Uepohatu Māori Women’s Welfare League from 2002 and was made a life member in 2021.

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