Packard, Manu McGregor, Myles Hodder and Carl Murphy.Photo / Bevan Conley[100320WCfilemoon01.JPG]Carl MoonPhoto / FileLiz Wylieliz.firstname.lastname@example.org
Working with the Whanganui Fire Service for a year has been a once in a lifetime experience for Dennis Seitz.
The Canadian firefighter and his family left their home in Edmonton to switch places with local firefighter Carl Moon almost a year ago.
"I'll probably never get the chance again," Seitz said.
"There is a long list of Edmonton firefighters wanting to come to New Zealand and it goes up to 2028."
Whanganui senior station officer Aaron Summerhays said there are a number of places in the world where New Zealand firefighters can exchange places with counterparts.
"Canada is one of the most popular destinations because their training is very similar to ours," Summerhays said.
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"The Canadians enjoy coming to New Zealand as well."
Seitz, his wife and their four children have been living in Moon's house in Whanganui while the Kiwi firefighter is residing in their Edmonton home.
"I got to meet Carl because he arrived four days before we left.
"It was great to be able to shake his hand."
Living in Whanganui has been an "awesome experience" for Seitz and his family, he said.
"We love the outdoors and hiking and we've been to the Far North as well as to the South Island.
"Walking tracks in New Zealand are so accessible and well-maintained that we've been able to go on lots of hikes with our four kids."
Working in a city that has just one fire station has also been an enjoyable experience for Seitz.
"In Edmonton, I've attended fires in big buildings where all the city stations are attending and I haven't been able to do anything.
"Here in Whanganui, if you attend a fire you're all involved and I like that."
Acting assistant area manager Ian King completed a one year exchange in Canada in 2008.
"I was in Kitchener, Ontario, and they had a single station there so I felt quite at home," King said.
"We didn't get to meet my Canadian counterpart as he'd left before we got there but we met them four years later when we went for a holiday."
Seitz said he is pleased to have spent the year in Whanganui rather than a larger centre as it has been easier to meet the locals and travel to work.
"I run to work which is great and it only takes me a few minutes to get here."
He has completed his final day shift at the Whanganui Fire Station and will have a week off after a couple more night shifts.
"We leave on the 19th and with the time difference we'll arrive in Canada an hour before we leave Auckland," he said.
Meanwhile, Carl Moon will be preparing to leave Edmonton where the temperatures have ranged from 25 to 40 degrees below zero during the past two weeks.