Our History

Milestones

1933
Auckland Fire Police Unit formed by Auckland Metropolitan Fire Board. Captain Harry James elected inaugural Officer in Charge. Armbands issued as sole item of uniform.
1939
Soon after the outbreak of World War 2, Fire Police go on a war footing with revised turn-out procedures, emergency precaution drills and lectures on how to deal with incendiary devices, bomb damage, etc.
1942
Captain George Hedlund elected Officer in Charge.
1943
Members receive first issue of dress uniform, but not working uniform.
1957
Unit reorganised to be more efficient at the request of the Fire Board.
1958
Officers' appointments made permanent, no longer subject to annual election.
1961
Members receive first full issue of working uniform.
1966
Fire Police area of operations extended as the Fire Board absorbs surrounding Fire Brigades. Captain L.D. Beuth elected as Officer in Charge.
1970
Captain R. D. Reid appointed Officer in Charge.
1976
Auckland Metropolitan Fire Board disbanded under the reforming 1975 Act, New Zealand Fire Service Commission takes over. Cap badges changed from the familiar "crossed axes" to the unpopular "Phoenix".
1977
Fire Police take over driving / crewing the refurbished Mobile Canteen.
1983
The Unit's Jubilee : 50th Year Celebrations.
1984
Agreement for Service signed with the Fire Service. Fire Police ranks and insignia standardised to be the same as the rest of the Service. After attempts since 1933, Auckland Fire Police are advised they are eligible to join United Fire Brigades' Association (Inc). The Unit joins, and members are now able to receive UFBA Service Honours.
1985
Fire Police in Task Force to Ngatea floods. First female member sworn in, Mrs Kay Morrison. All members now issued with Fire Service blue dress uniform. The unpopular "Phoenix" badge replaced with a new version of the "crossed axes", surmounted by the crown. Pocket pagers issued to Officers, other members still alerted by telephone. UFBA service honours presented for the first time to eligible members.
1986
Further brigades absorbed into Auckland. Fire Police area of operations extended in South and West Auckland.
1987
Fire Police in Task Force to Opotiki / Whakatane for earthquake relief operations.
1989
Officers issued with UHF hand-held radios; area-wide coverage.
1991
$100,000 donation from ASB Trust for the Unit's Communications; hand-held UHF radios, pagers and keyboards to input turnout alert messages.
1992
Ric Carlyon appointed Officer in Charge with the revised rank Divisional Officer. All members issued with pocket pagers. Rostered members enter details of emergencies, augmenting alerts from Fire Control room. All members issued with UHF hand-held personal radios.
1993
Full turn-out working uniform issued, including blue helmets. Black bunker coats, replace unpopular yellow PVC jackets. Unit's 60th anniversary celebrations attended by the Governor-General, Dame Catherine Tizard.
1994
April - New Zealand Fire Service Chief Executive Officer's review of the Service includes negative points about Fire Police, which will be subject to a further review.
September - Second ASB Trust donation received for Phase 2, Communications Package.
1995
Reorganisation of the Auckland City and suburbs to 13 Fire Districts, each with their own Chief Fire Officer.
1996
Jim Smith appointed Officer in Charge with the revised rank Chief Fire Officer.
1997
February - New service Level Agreement signed with Fire Service, creating 3 more Fire Officers' positions, the Unit's establishment confirmed as 60, all ranks.
May - 4 new transmitter sites commissioned, giving Region-wide radio coverage.
July - Unit now responsible for own Budgets / Finances.
December - Urgent Response Van allocated to Fire Police, refurbished, equipped, commissioned. Canteen vested in the Unit's care.
1998
U.F.B.A Gold Star presentation to CFO Jim Smith and FO Peter McGeachen, the first to be awarded for 25 years' service entirely in the Unit.
1999
April - First Fire Police member, FO Ross Bay, to gain qualifications in Institution of Fire Engineers.
July - Auckland Fire Police Unit webpages included on NZ Fire Service Internet site.
November - Rules of Association amended, agreed-to and signed.
2000
January - Auto-paging introduced, advising fire calls simultaneously as Communications Centre despatches appliances.
February - Premises at Remuera Station allocated to the Unit for offices, training room and lounge.
April - Unit assisted in organisation and activities at the Auckland Provincial Fire Brigades' Association's Centennial Conference and Competitions.
September - 2 new Nissan Urgent Response Van vans allocated to the Unit, one to replace #1, the other an addition. Mitsubishi Ultralite Urgent Response Appliance allocated to the Unit. Canteen upgraded to Urgent Response vehicle.
December - First 12 members attain Dangerous Goods Licence enabling them to drive the Fire Service vehicle towing the Ablutions Trailer (under construction at this time)
2001
June - Fire Police took oversight of two more vehicles, the Fire Safety Caravan and a Jeep, with which to tow it to events etc.
July - Rank of "Fire Officer" in the NZ Fire Service on the way out, reverting to the term "Station Officer". First "K99" video newsletter from NZ Fire Service HQ shown to members.
September - Unit receives personal greetings from Secretary-General of the United Nations, Koffi Anan, on the occasion of celebrations for the UN-inspired International Year of the Volunteer.
Click here to view this letter
September - All serving members awarded the International Year of the Volunteer Medal, presented by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon George Hawkins, at the Unit's Annual Honours Evening. Honorary Life Member Ces Copland attends a Fire Police function for the last time after 47 years' active membership (he had been the Unit's longest serving member) followed by a further 13 years as Honorary Life Member.
October - Members attended a Fire Service memorial service at Holy Trinity Cathedral for those New York fire-fighters, and others, lost in the Twin Towers disaster in New York.
2002
May - NZ Police Officers' Guild donated $1,400 for a generator to be placed on a Fire Police vehicle, the gift in recognition of the assistance the Unit has given Police at many incidents.
December - Health and Safety In Employment Amendment Bill becomes law - volunteers are subject to the Act, calling for extra vigilance while at work on the fireground.
2003
March - Fire Police part of the NZFS intranet, members to be trained on its use
April - New lime jackets being introduced with requisite reflectorised stripes
May - 2nd Ultralite added to the Fire Police fleet, replacing one of the Nissan vans.
June - Ford canteen vehicle replaced by brand new Iveco, with renovations/additions to the kitchen compartment.
July - Night of Fires in downtown Auckland began with the self-immolation of a woman in Aotea Square followed by a series of fires, some multi-alarm structure blazes, in 13 different buildings in the CBD, kept the Fire Service at full capacity overnight. Police thought at first there may have been a link and later charged a man with arson, but he was apparently not connected with the fatality.
September - Annual General Meeting held in September instead of the traditional June, to fit in with the Brigade's agreement for service with NZFS
October - Members qualify for the first time in Temporary Traffic Management, Site Traffic Management Supervisors (STMS), Traffic Controllers (TC) and Instructor.
2004
January - Ablutions Trailer added to Fire Police fleet
April - Fire Police offered space for HQ in the Regional Building, City - Remuera Fire Station soon to be demolished and rebuilt
July - Auckland Fire Police make a submission suggesting Fire Police be retained in new legislation which will ultimately replace present Fire Service Act.
December - SO Peter McGeachen retires from Unit after 32 years' service.
2005
April - Fire Police incorporated into NZFS's SMS on-line management system
May - Representatives of the Unit present submissions to Department of Internal Affairs team re the proposed fire/rescue legislation, after which the Unit withdraws its submission believing it to be too confining, noting there will be further opportunity to comment.
June - Fire Police combine with New Zealand Fire Brigades' Institute to host a Field Day - "Fire Protection within Institutions of Detention" at Paremoremo
July - Members graduate from first Management Skills Development Programme held by the Unit
October - A team of Auckland Fire Police with 2 fleet vehicles assisted for the weekend 'Staying Alive Expo' at Mystery Creek, Hamilton.
December - Reported that members had assisted in more than 50 movements of the kitchen trailer/safety caravan to fire safety events etc during the year.
2006
February - Many members assisting with various facets of the UFBA Conference held at Auckland's Sky City - those who were members of the Organising Committee are named as Honorary Life Members of the Auckland Districts' Fire Brigades Sub Association
April - NZFS intranet can now be accessed by members via the internet
June - 2 members of the Unit named in Queen's Birthday Honours, thought unique in the NZFS: CFO Jim Smith QSM (Queen's Service Medal) and SO Ric Carlyon MNZM (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit)
August - All members now issued with latest model 'Flex' pagers
2007
March - Announcement that Assistant Fire Regional Manager/Commander David Neil has the new position of OIC of all regional volunteer matters.
April - A small group from the Unit, members of the Regional Communications Team, is trained to provide assistance during extraordinary emergency events.
May - Auckland Fire Police Officers travel to Rotorua for training weekend there with Rotorua and Taupo Operational Support members.
June - The Unit makes a further submission re the proposed new fire and rescue services legislation (still under consideration by the Review Team in Wellington).
July - SO Ric Carlyon appointed to Board of Directors, UFBA.
November - Unit's website inaugurated , Sgt S Kearns (NZ Police) made Life Member of the Unit at Auckland Fire Police's Triple Gold Star function and Honours Night.
2008
March - The Unit's liaison executive at region headquarters, Assistant Regional Fire Commander David Neil, retired from the Fire Service.
April - Auckland Fire Police respond in the canteen to assist at a multiple-alarm fire in a cool-store at Tamahere, just South of Hamilton.
April - Representatives of the Unit were among hundreds of Service personnel who gathered in Hamilton at the funeral of SSO Derek Lovell who died of injuries sustained at the Tamahere cool-store explosion and fire.
June - Celebrations began with a social evening to mark the Unit's 75th anniversary.
August - Unit represented by FPC Mark Potter at celebrations held by Fire Police in Montgomery County, near Philadelphia, to mark their 75th anniversary.
September - Unit's 75th Annual General Meeting, including announcement of the Unit's first-ever Patron, Mr David Neil.
September - Unit now has members serving on executives of Fire Brigade organisations at national level (SO Ric Carlyon Board of Directors, UFBA), provincial level (FPC Russell Allen, President of the Provincial Fire Brigades' Assoc.) and district level (CFO Jim Smith, President of the Auckland Districts Fire Brigades' Sub. Assoc. and FPC Brian Molloy, Treasurer of the Districts Assoc.)
December - 6th Alarm-plus fire at the derelict Southdown Meat Works, Penrose.
December - Training and Progression System (TAPS) finalised for Fire Police with input from Unit members.
2009
February - Unit's officers assisted at the pilot training course inaugurating the TAPS system for Fire Police/Operations Support personnel.
March - A triple Gold Star evening coincides with the Unit's 75th anniversary celebrations... Station Officers Allan Officer and Lance Wright for 25 years' service with the Unit, FPC Kevin Stillwell for 25 years served in the Unit and various other brigades.
March - The Unit presents inaugural Employer Awards, recognising companies and self-employed members who respond to emergencies during company time.
June - Member Nigel Hohaia is placed second overall in the UFBA's national multi-discipline Driving Challenge held at Manfeild.
September - Two long-serving members leave the Unit, SO Alan Baldick after 36 years' service, 30 of them as the Unit's Secretary and FPC Grant Wilson with 31 years' service.
October - 46 Members have completed courses, now qualified traffic controllers under New Zealand Transport Agency's STMS system.
2010
March - Members respond to one of the Unit's southern-most calls, taking the Canteen to Rangiriri, North Waikato, where there's been an early-morning fatal road accident.
March - CFO Jim Smith who has been the Unit's OIC for 16 years steps down: Glenn Teal takes over as Chief Fire Officer; Ric Carlyon assumes the Deputy's position. Jim Smith remains in the Unit as Station Officer.
March - Members assist with the compilation of training material and help at the first-ever course for Operational Support personnel from throughout the country preparatory to anticipated changes.
April - Members attend the installation and ordination of one of our members, SO Ross Bay, as Anglican Bishop of Auckland.
May - 5th alarm fire at Southdown in the old freezing works, it's the second major fire in the complex in 18 months. Fire Police engaged for 3 days.
June - Unit begins a new training regime, anticipating the change to Operational Support later in the year when additional competencies will be required.
August - Unit honours former CFO Jim Smith at a function in Parnell.
September - Members participate for the first time in the 9/11 Memorial Stairclimb: a team of 8 led by SO Ross Bay who, as Anglican Bishop of Auckland, led prayers before the event.
September - Unit takes delivery of a new tailor-outfitted Transit van, Fire Police 4.
October - Busy month with 57 responses, almost double for the same month last year.
November - NZFS issues new policy replacing Fire Police with the name Operational Support and defining the duties of the new entity which are more or less those being carried out by the Unit. The Policy also sets out recruitment and induction processes, training requirements and minimum issue of Personal Protection Equipment for Operational Support personnel. The policy means that the name "Fire Police" will ultimately disappear and, later, that Section 33 of the Act will be repealed to abolish Fire Police from the statute.
December - 3 Senior Station Officers appointed, SSOs Ross Bay, Len Day and Allan Officer: the rank returning to the Unit after an absence of some 15 years.
2011
February - On February 22nd Canterbury suffered a devastating earthquake, 6.3 on the Richter Scale. It followed a lesser shock in September 2010, centred on rural areas and without loss of life. The second 'quake severely affected downtown Christchurch and eastern suburbs with an anticipated death toll of 180 and major damage to buildings, much of it irreparable. Auckland Volunteer Fire Police responded within 24hrs of the 'quake, taking 2 specialist appliances (Canteen and Mitsubishi appliance) and a trailer (Ablutions). They travelled about 1,000kms responding to the call, the furthest turn-out, ever, by volunteers in New Zealand. Members were rostered in 6 teams who, one after the other, travelled to Christchurch supporting emergency personnel for 21 days. In that time they oversaw distribution of more than 10,000 meals supplied by the Army and, together with support services in Auckland, putting in more than 1,400 person hours. The canteen was situated at Christchurch Central Fire Station while the Ablutions Trailer was set up at Christchurch Central Police Station, providing showers for personnel who were working around-the-clock in a building that had no ablution facilities.
May - Stormy weather over much of Auckland on 3rd May delivered a tornado on the North Shore which touched down at the Albany shopping centre, tossing cars around the car park, stripping roofs of surrounding buildings and, towards Birkenhead, damaging dozens of houses. One man died instantly of injuries received.
June - One worker died and six others were injured following an explosion in underground pipes in Mt Smart Road, Onehunga. A major project was being undertaken for WaterCare Services when on 4th June an early Saturday morning explosion ripped through the pipes blowing some workers along the pipes out into the excavation. Members were present on scene for most of the weekend, putting in some 220 person- hours.
July and September - The Unit's participation in the aftermath of the Christchurch Earthquake is marked by two presentations thanking members for their efforts, one a certificate from the New Zealand Fire Service Commission, the other a plaque from Christchurch City fire-fighters.
September - The Rugby World Cup tournament begins in Auckland. Fire Police, in addition to 'business as usual', provide crews with 2 additional urgent-response vehicles rostered on the dates that games are scheduled at Eden Park and North Shore Stadium.
September - Refurbishing the Unit's new rooms in the basement of the Regional building is completed to provide comfortable headquarters for members, especially for those rostered and on-station as crews to cover additional duties connected with the Rugby World Cup.(It's a first for the Unit, as far as is known crews have not before been rostered on station, as crews with vehicles, awaiting call-outs.
October - On 29th October a function was held to mark the major milestone in the Unit's history, the transformation from Fire Police to Operational Support. As well as a new name for their Unit, members received certificates discharging them from the Oath of Constable and new ranks, where applicable.
2012
March - Members receive new personal protective uniform in line with Operational Support requirements: the words "Fire Police" have now disappeared from all items of uniform. Helmet torches are to be issued to all members.
June - At the Brigade's annual Honours Evening, in addition to Queen's awards and UFBA service honours, those members who served in 2011 were presented with recognition marking the 10th anniversary of International Year of the Volunteer in 2001. Those who received the IYV medal in 2001 were given a bar to go with the medal, others received a medal, IYV+10.
October - The Brigade registered as an Incorporated Society, joining its earlier status as a registered Charity.
November - The Brigade experienced an extraordinary level of activity, averaging two calls a day during the month. With one or two exceptions, all were working jobs. As well as 18 motor vehicle accidents, Greater Alarms included a fatal house fire at Glendene, a factory at Otara, bush on the slopes of Mt Wellington Domain, a recycling plant in Papatoetoe, a warehouse at Glenfield, house fires at Papatoetoe and Orakei, and a car crashed into a house at Point England. In addition there were attendances at the effects of stormy weather earlier in the month, a homicide in Waterview, two airport alerts, several scrub fires, a tree fallen across a busy city road and spillages of hazardous substances in both Henderson and Puhoi. These activities were capped by rural incidents: a barn fire near Waiuku and a house fire at Helensville. On top of which members assisted at no fewer than six community events.
2013
January/February - New Zealand experienced drought conditions over the summer and the brigade prepared with "Operation Parched", a special programme to meet any contingencies. We responded to 2 "campaign fires", vegetation blazes in the North, one at Tapora, the other near Dome Valley. Members attended both fires for days on end, rostered shifts. There was also a large grass and scrub fire in the Auckland southern suburb of Clendon Park which was maliciously started.
February - Those members who assisted immediately after the earthquake in Canterbury received recognition from the NZ Fire Service. At a special ceremony they were presented with the Commission's Earthquake Citation (Dress Distinction).
June - Members turned out to Spring Hill Prison, near Meremere in North Waikato, where inmates rioted and set fire to part of the jail.
September - The annual Honours Night and Dinner was combined with party celebrations to mark the Brigade's 80th anniversary. It was attended by the Chairman of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission, Rt Hon Wyatt Creech, local Fire Service dignitaries, past and present members.
October - For the first time 3 Operational Support Units combined at the same job when Auckland, Silverdale and Whangarei personnel attended a long-duration accident on State Highway One near Topuni. A laden stock truck and a car collided, seriously injuring the driver of the car and leaving cattle in the wreckage dead and dying. Many were put down.
November - For the first time ever, Operational Support/Fire Police hosted a United Fire Brigades' Association (UFBA) Conference. 500 delegates and partners descended on Auckland for the 3 day event. In a carefully planned operation, just about everyone in the Brigade was involved - either greeting visitors off their flights, organising the "Behind the Scenes" Field Day at the airport, transporting delegates, accompanying the partners on their day-trips, or hosting delegates at the Welcome Dinner and the following night's Tribute Dinner to Dame Margaret Bazley. The Brigade received a Certificate of Appreciation from the UFBA in recognition of its efforts. At the Conference one of our members, Ric Carlyon, was made a Life Honorary Member of the Association for his work while Board Member for 6 years, the maximum allowed under the organisation's Rules.
2014
February - 4th Alarm transmitted to CC Interiors' Warehouse/Showroom at St Johns and, at the same time there was a 2nd Alarm boat fire at Glendene in the West.
April - Pre-Easter weather created what's probably a record for "adverse weather effects" when 17 calls were attended in a 24 hour period, notably wires/trees down, slips, danger to structures and a motor vehicle accident.
July - Fire rips through Auckland Film Studios Complex at Henderson, one of the biggest fires in West Auckland for many years.
September - Major blaze at Northcote College on the North Shore destroys a block of classrooms, threatened others.
October - The Brigades new communications system is turned on: one radio channel dedicated to Auckland-wide coverage, the other for Operational Support fireground command and control
October - Fire in Penrose Electrical Sub-Station knocks out electricity to many Eastern Suburbs for up to 48 hours.
November - Brigade responded to 13 calls over a weekend: house fires, motor vehicle accidents and fire in the glass factory.
2015
April - Members attended a Memorial Service to mark the 100th Anniversary of landings at Gallipoli, remembering particularly firefighters who answered the call to arms and served as ANZACs and elsewhere during the First World War: especially those that did not return.
May - Members attend Memorial Service for Allan Bruce, formerly Auckland's Chief Fire Officer, who died in retirement in Queensland.
August - SSO Ross Bay presented with the UFBA's Gold Star medal for 25 years' service.
November - Minister of Internal Affairs announces reform of fire services to amalgamate urban and rural brigades, ending 10 years of proposals and submissions designed to update legislation to provide fire services fit- for-purpose for the changing community.
2016
August - Grey Lynn fire station officially opened
September - Members attended 110th Annual General Meeting of the Ex- Firefighters' Association
November - SSO Peter Duncan receives a certificate marking 40 year's service, all served with Auckland Fire Police which became Operational Support.
December - Data shows the year ends with a record number of callouts: 759 - 50 more than in 2015.
2017
March - Day-long tasking for the Brigade at major flooding when torrents of water flow across Great North Road in New Lynn blocking the road, flooding shops and causing slips and wash-outs.
April - Ross Bay replaces Ric Carlyon as Deputy Chief Fire Officer as Ric steps down to SSO, beginning his transition to retirement.
May - A bill to update fire services, the Fire and Emergency New Zealand is passed in Parliament, the new Act to take effect from July 1st 2017.
May - Two new Senior Station Officers appointed: SSO Richard Cuthbert and SSO Dan Scott.
July 1st - Brigade celebrates transition from New Zealand Fire Service to the new Fire and Emergency New Zealand. and 6 weeks later personnel are listed as Authorised Persons under the Act.