Long-serving Hawke's Bay firefighter farewelled

By Roger Moroney

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Kevin William Adie
April 26 1937 - September 29 2016


It was a most fitting send-off for a man who gave 34 years of commitment to the New Zealand Fire Service.

Kevin William Adie was farewelled at a service at the Hastings Fire Station yesterday with full service honours, and was carried out on a vintage trailer pump and Dennis fire engine.

Mr Adie was a stalwart of the fire service, a commitment which was continued by three of his sons also joining up - and to date the Adie family can between them proudly boast an impressive 101 years of voluntary and paid service.

He was also a stalwart of the Hastings Hibernian Society and the community across the board.

Mr Adie was born in Auckland and later moved with his family to Wellington as his father, who worked with the Commercial Bank, was posted there.

Another bank transfer saw the family settle in Hastings and after a stint of military training young Kevin followed in his father's footsteps and went to work for the bank in its Napier branch.

He too had a posting to Wellington but homesickness for his Bay home saw him return and take on an administration position with Watties.

While there, in 1959, he met Mary Stubbs at an indoor bowls event and three years later they were engaged, and a year later married.

They would be married for a happy 52 years and produced four sons.

Mr Adie left Watties to be secretary of the Hibernian Catholic Working Men's Club, then an office position with builders PJ Bridgman and later the Hastings Hospital where he worked in administration for 33 years.

It was in 1961, while doing volunteer work during a serious flood in Havelock North, that his links with the fire service began.

Apart from his exploits as an active firefighter he also showed aptitude as an administrator and within two years he was appointed brigade secretary, retaining this office for 17 years until 1979.

He was also secretary of the Wellington Provincial Fire Brigades Association from 1965-1974, and on the executive of the Hawke's Bay Fire Brigades Sub-Association from 1969 until his presidential year in 1973.

He attended many United Fire Brigades Association conferences and in 1977 took up the role of conference minute secretary and competition field secretary, holding both roles through to 1994.

On the fire frontline he saw some serious action - the Wattie's Canneries fire in 1962, Dalgety fire in 1974, Tomoana Works blaze in 1979 and the first Fruitgrowers fire in 1982.

He was once again asked to be brigade Secretary in 1984, which led him to take on the role of secretary for the 1986 Centennial celebrations and during that year the brigade hosted a string of major events, including his being awarded the Gold Star for 25 years of service to the Hastings Fire Brigade.

For all his years of voluntary work for the various organisations within the fire service he was awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday honours and received it at government house on October 4, 1990.

He retired from the service in 1995.

Mr Adie was equally devoted to the Hastings Hibernian Club and the Society and was awarded life membership of both.

While retired be continued to use his financial skills to help groups and organisations with their audits and accounts - the dining room table at home was well-used for money counting.

In recognition of his contributions to the community the Hastings District Council awarded him with a Civic Honour for "outstanding voluntary community service in the field of recreation and welfare" in 2009.

Not happy with just being busy himself, he instilled a solid work ethic in all of his sons as in his "spare time" he took them along to various "jobs"; building fences, carports, sheds, horse stables, laying concrete or blocks, cutting firewood and working on various projects at home or at their bach in Porongahau.

He is survived by his wife Mary and sons Tony, Mark, David and Hamish.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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