Brian Slader is the latest of 24 Haumoana Fire Brigade members to receive the Gold Star for 25 years service.
He was joined at a celebration by 14 current and former volunteer firefighters who have served the community for 25 years.
He was presented various medals and plaques by Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and United Fire Brigade Association (UFBA) representatives in front of about 100 current brigade members and partners, and his family and friends.
In making the presentation of the Gold Star medal, past UFBA president Mike Aldie said Brian had an attendance rate of 99 per cent of musters (training and meeting nights) which made him a fitting recipient of the service award.
Brian says he felt "humbled by the attention" but also "proud to be part of an organisation that does so much for our community and across New Zealand" when he received the award.
Brian joined the brigade in July of 1995 after he was asked to join by a member he knew.
He and his family had just moved to the Haumoana area and he thought joining would be a good way to meet people in the community, and it was.
The friendships formed with other members have been the highlight of his time there.
"We have a lot of fun but know when the job needs to be done, we look after each other."
The fire which has stood out for him the post is The Fruitpackers packhouse fire in December 2004.
"Our then senior station officer, the late Bill Tims, and I had just left the packhouse Christmas party a few hours before the fire. Little did we know that we would return so soon.
"The scale of the fire brought all our training and knowledge to the fore. We managed to save a large part of the complex that allowed them to continue in business."
Helping people when they feel their most vulnerable and the camaraderie of being part of a team that works together for a common cause is what Brian enjoys most about the job.
The Haumoana brigade celebrates its 75th anniversary next year.