A small Northland fire brigade responsible for a patch 30 times the size of Auckland International Airport aims to bolster its volunteer roster of six.
Rawene fire chief Zak Bristow said an injection of new recruits would take the heat off current firefighters who respond to a variety of demanding callouts in the 400 sq km area they are responsible for.
"Volunteers are very, very hard to come by," Bristow said. "Where we live in Rawene is a small community and there isn't a lot of turnover in people."
The small town on the south side of the Hokianga harbour has a population of about 400 people with a "strict" demographic of elderly and hard workers, Bristow said.
"We really have to try hard to encourage volunteers to come in. You don't have to be a young person to become a firefighter. I know someone who is 65 years of age."
Bristow said the brigade is "open to all".
The five firefighters – trained in breathing apparatus – and one operational support staffer have formed a tight knit family keen to welcome others into the fold.
"We support each other and the new ones coming in," Bristow said. "I consider this brigade my second family."
He stressed it can be a demanding job, evident with Rawene's call out to a wildfire that burned more than 10ha of pine forest in late January.
"But we always make sure to prepare by talking about what to expect while we are in the truck on the way to a job. Afterwards we talk about the things we've seen and experienced."
Bristow said Fire and Emergency New Zealand offered additional support for volunteers if required.
To be eligible people needed to be over 16 and have a current driver's licence.
The Rawene brigade has 40 training nights a year on Wednesday at 7pm until 9.30pm to equip volunteers with first aid, rural and urban firefighting skills.
"People who join a brigade find it incredibly useful to use as a stepping stone to a future career."
To register your interest email Zak Bristow on email@example.com or phone 021 083 06469.