An endless appetite for firefighting started as a kid for Kaikohe's James Powdrill and seven decades later has led him to receive the Queen's Service Medal.
The 82-year-old Far North stalwart has sworn his life to protecting locals and will receive the QSM for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and community.
He was on the forefront of household fire prevention in the 1970s, fitting Kaikohe homes with smoke alarms and cleaning chimneys part-time for about 20 years to reduce fires and the subsequent callouts.
But fire prevention was a team effort, Powdrill said.
"Everybody was involved in it. We used to have fundraising drives to try to make the money needed to buy the alarms. Whereas now we can get grants for it."
As time progressed Powdrill moved up the ranks to senior station officer. He assisted the training of new blood to the Kaikohe volunteer fire service, as well as promoted positive change through three restructures of the brigade until they settled under FENZ, and was a driver and pump operator for more than 50 years.
"I like mixing with people and I just like doing the community work," he said.
Powdrill has an attendance record of 96 per cent in more than 10,000 musters.
He has also been a St John ambulance driver, helped at the Kaikohe Pioneer Village, and is a Kaikohe Community Patrol member.
Powdrill revelled in the Northland Fire Brigade competitions in his role of marshal and time keeper and years later he officiated at provincial level from Cape Reinga to Turangi.
"It all goes back to when I was a kid. The firefighters used to go down to the recreation grounds and have competitions and I'd always go and watch them and roll the hoses up after the competition," Powdrill said. "That got me going on this path."
The keen youngster quietly killed time until he blew out the candles on his 18th birthday and was finally old enough to apply to be a volunteer firefighter.
"I couldn't get in for three years - they were full," Powdrill said. "I put my name on the waiting list and got on with things."
He was working as a mechanic in 1963 when a letter arrived in the mail with the news he was going to be a volunteer firefighter.
And the rest was history for Powdrill, who was recognised as a life member of the Kaikohe Brigade in 1988 and received a Citizens Award from the Far North Council in 2016.
This history is proudly displayed on his uniform where his 50-year medal sits with bars added every additional two years of service.
And more of the veteran firefighter's days of yore are showcased in a cosy museum he established down an alleyway in central Kaikohe.
The public can travel back in time, witness the evolution of the fire alarm and view black and white brigade photos, alongside many other items - all a nod to Powdrill's lifetime love and dedication to firefighting.
"I thought why not share with people the joys and experiences firefighting has brought me over the years."