Two Bream Bay firefighters flew to New York this week to climb 80 floors to the top of 3 World Trade Centre.
Ruakaka Volunteer Fire Brigade's Darrell Trigg and Paul Austin of Refinery NZ Marsden 22 Brigade are among 400 first responders from around the world taking part in the July 1 New York City Memorial Stair Climb in memory of the 23 New York policemen, 37 Port Authority policemen and 343 New York firefighters who died on September 11, 2001 in New York after terrorists flew aircraft into the World Trade Centre twin towers.
Each climber carries the tag from a fallen first responder with them to the top of the building.
This year Trigg will carry the tag of Tarel Coleman, a 32-year-old father of two from FDNY Squad 252 and Austin has the tag of Gregg Atlas, a 44-year-old father of two from FDNY Engine 10.
"Engine 10 members were the first on site, because their station was just across the street," said Austin.
"A broker met Gregg in the stairwell, Gregg helped him carry some stuff down and then went back in. He was never seen again."
Climber numbers are limited to match the number of fallen first responders.
Trigg, who made the climb last year at 4 World Trade Centre, says some New York firefighters didn't show up, so other climbers made the trip two or even three times to get every tag to the top.
"It's a pretty special event," said Trigg. "There are stair climbs all over the world now, but this is the original. You're at the place where it happened."
Last year Trigg visited the station of the firefighter whose tag he carried, Matt Barnes of Ladder 25.
"There were seven on his shift, and none of them came home. It's quite eerie when you think about it."
Trigg, fully recovered from the knee problem which gave him issues during May's Auckland Sky Tower climb, hopes to finish the climb in around 25 minutes.
Austin also faced a hiccup with his preparation – he usually climbs in gumboots and as a volunteer firefighter, didn't have the level one lace-up fireboots required for the New York climb.
"I managed to buy some today," he said from the airport just before flying out. "I had them delivered en route to the airport."
Both Trigg and Austin are looking forward to the event. "The whole memorial side of it will be quite moving," said Austin.
Both men have support crews accompanying them – Darrell's wife Marlene is making the trip to watch him climb, and Austin is taking his father Noel and son Matthew.
The climb is a fundraiser for the Ray Pfeifer Foundation which assists people affected by 9/11. If you would like to donate in either of the Bream Bay Firefighter's names, visit www.nystairclimb.com .
College wins showquest
In the past four years Bream Bay College have won or placed in highly in Stage Challenge (now Showquest after a change of management) with performances based around a range of sensitive topics.
This year they won again, with an emotional performance dealing with suicide prevention.
School dance teacher Jo Mayne has overseen nine shows but is reluctant to take any credit for the student's achievements, saying she is there to support and encourage them.
"They decide what they want to do and how they want to do it", she said. "The students are keen to make their performance into a platform for an issue they are passionate about.
"They don't want to do a typical storyline, they want to challenge the audience on their thinking."
Co-directors, year 13 students Kara Beckham and Ceili Lea, focused throughout the lead-up and performance on keeping cast and crew in a safe space.
"Why we wanted to do this topic, and why we thought it was important, is because here in Northland we have a really high suicide rate," said Beckham. "It's really daunting for teens to hear that."
She says they wanted to start a conversation about the topic and provide a safe space for people to discuss it.
Lea, who also performed one of the show's main stage roles, says they wanted to present suicide prevention in a way that would resonate with people who have experienced mental health issues, without glorifying or romanticising suicide.
This took a lot of planning, starting with seeking advice from mental health experts, and several rewrites.
"Many of the cast have been affected by suicide," said Lea. "This was an advantage and a challenge."
Both Lea and Beckham say they've had comments since the show from many people about how powerful the performance was.
"Some people could relate it to how they felt in their darkest days," said Beckham.
Lea, whose performance won her an NZ Dance Company scholarship, says in her stage role as a mother she wanted to show the emotional toll on family.
"There are so many people who can relate to that," she said. "I realised how important it was, I really wanted to show that emotion."
Both girls say they have learned a lot from working on the production together. "We're a good dynamic," said Lea.
They hope to continue the conversation about suicide prevention at school started by the production.
Bream Bay's performance will be judged online along with other regional winners from around the country, with the national Showquest winner announced in September.
Mayne says Bream Bay's tradition of performing excellence is now well-established. "I already have next year's leaders thinking about what they'd like to do next year, and how they can carry on that legacy."
Award for junior good citizens
Marsden Lions hope to encourage young people to become good citizens with their latest initiative.
They've approached Ruakaka School, One Tree Point School and Bream Bay College's junior school to encourage students to strive towards winning a Marsden Lions Junior Citizenship Award.
Lions secretary Gladys Rowsell says the best thing about the award is that the recipient is not usually the high academic achiever or amazing sportsperson who already receive their share of awards.
Marsden Lions will hold an award ceremony in November where all nominated students will get a framed certificate and a small scroll for their CV.
Rowsell says the goal of the award is to encourage young people to be great examples to their peers and become actively involved in their community.
Marsden Lions themselves have been active in their community – their charity golf tournament earlier this month raised $8000 which they have split between a range of groups: Northland Emergency Services Trust ($3000), Ruakaka Surf Club ($2000), North Haven Hospice ($1000), Ruakaka Volunteer Fire Brigade ($1000) and St John Bream Bay ($1000).
Last chance for fundraising tickets
It's your last chance to pick up a ticket for this weekend's Waipu Coronation Hall's Big Band Dance fundraiser.
Organiser Louise Wickham is delighted with the response so far, with 150 tickets sold, earlier this week they had just 30 left.
Help them pay for the hall's $30,000 new roof, and enjoy dancing or listening to the music of the 18-piece Basin City Big Band this Saturday.
Your $25 ticket buys you supper and the bar will be open. Tickets available from Waipu Real Estate or call Louise on 0274345353.
After a week of miserable weather and heavy rain 56 people enjoyed some sunshine at Waipu Golf Club's annual mid-winter Christmas tournament and dinner.
"Although the course still had considerable water lying around it was quite playable," said ladies' president Julie Gordon. "Except for the bunkers which had become little inland lakes and beach areas."
After the golf, all players were treated to drinks and dinner in the clubhouse.
Winners on the day on stableford points were: (ladies) Bron Reynolds 40, Marilyn Bresnehan 36, Kylie Jacoby 36; (men) Murray Douglas 44, Rob Hansen 42, Jack MacKay 42, Pearce Bresnehan 42, Don Mann 41; 9-hole ladies:Gabrielle Carppe 11; 9 holes men: Carlton Stanley Hunt 20, Mike Gusterson 19, Richard Wilson 19.
■ Email Julie Paton at firstname.lastname@example.org if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Northern Advocate readers.