A group of Napier firefighters who helped local communities and businesses during the city's recent deluge are embarking on a new task.
The "Napier Spitfires" – a group of volunteer firefighters – are set to climb Auckland's Sky Tower tomorrow to raise money and awareness for charity.
The seven will climb 1103 individual steps over 51 flights of the famous Auckland landmark – all whilst wearing 25kg of equipment and gear.
Napier brigade's Steve Vallance said this would be his crew's 12th year taking on the challenge.
"For me, it's my 11th year climbing the tower, so I'm doing the Firefighter of Steel challenge where I'll be going up to the 60th floor with a steel cylinder."
Over the past three years, the Napier Spitfires have raised more than $90,000 in donations.
All proceeds raised go to Leukaemia and Blood Cancer - a national charity dedicated to supporting patients and families living with blood cancer.
"When we first started we raised about $250. We then realised how important the cause was, so we changed our style of fundraising with charity auctions, corporate donations and more."
The Napier Spitfires currently sit top of the nationwide fundraising table, having raised over $30,000 to date. Hastings Station is second with over $27,600, while Waipukurau sits in 13th with $8700.
"Our goal this year is to raise $35,000," Vallance said. "But Napier has been put on the map because of this over the years."
The firefighter said the volunteer brigade had two fire trucks out and about in Napier during the recent deluge.
"We all helped out during the flooding," he said. "Then we worked a lot during the clean-up duties in the days following the flooding.
"A group helped members of the local community with cleaning up, while another spent their time helping local businesses who'd flooded."
Vallance said many of the crew were also personally affected - he lost his own belongings while out helping others.
Over 1000 firefighters from across New Zealand will race up the 328 metre high Sky Tower - the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere - during 2020.
Volunteer firefighter and Napier Spitfire member Brad Edwards leads the way in donations with more than $29,000 raised individually.
Edwards said he continues to be blown away by the generosity of Hawke's Bay.
"My family and friends have been fantastic and even though local business have been through so much first with Covid-19 and then the floods, they still are happy to help this amazing cause," he said.
Other members of the Napier climbing crew include team captain Jonathan Claybourn, Jeremy Gerbes, Steve Vallance, Adam Birchfield, Junior Tuu'u and Rowan Stevenson.