Some of the Kaitaia Fire Brigade members who received decorations on Saturday night have given decades to the organisation and their community, but there is a new generation waiting in the wings.
They include Dani Elliott, who now has five years under her belt, and who regularly takes her place in appliances as they leave the station, and an even more recent recruit, 17-year-old Jayden Boughey, a Year 13 student at Kaitaia College.
Jayden lives at Whatuwhiwhi, but his teachers have no problem with him running for the door when the siren sounds, and he spends two nights each week at the station, so he will be ready and able to answer the call at any time.
There was no brigade history in his family, he said, but he had always wanted to be a firefighter.
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"It's something I can do for the community," he said, although he's not destined to be there for long. Next year he will join the RNZAF, training in intelligence. Colour blindness will preclude him from flying, although it hasn't stopped him from working towards a private pilot's licence. He made his first solo flight 18 months ago.
Jayden currently holds the rank of Qualified Firefighter, but doesn't plan to remain at that level for long. He is actively working to add to his qualifications, and will be taking part in a firefighter course in October.