Greytown Volunteer Fire Brigade

Our Fire Station

The Greytown Fire Station as it is today

The new Greytown Fire Station with International fire engine and Ford V8 Colonial trailer pump parked outside Greytown receives its new Karrier Gamecock fire engine 1982 the brigade celebrates 100years

Following the passing of the Fire Service Act in 1949, in 1957 after the establishment of the Greytown Urban Fire Authority, several sections in the Borough being offered for sale were inspected by the officers of the Fire Service Council as to their suitability for the site of a new station.

With the passing of the 75th celebrations, saw progress being made towards a new fire station for Greytown. In 1958 the purchase was finalised of the section of land on almost the opposite side of the road from the then Forrester’s Arms Hotel and former site of the once Junior Brigades pump shed.

Plans of other fire stations recently built in other Wairarapa centres were examined and discussed. In February 1959 the Brigade submitted a sketched plan to the Fire Authority for the proposed new station. This in turn was forwarded to the Fire Service Council whose architectural advisor submitted an alternate plan in June. This plan with some minor adjustments was approved by the Authority.

An application for a loan of £8,750 made in October 1960 was actioned in February 1961. The architects working drawings and specifications after submissions to the Ministry of Works and the Fire Service Council were passed and tenders were called for. Of the eight who tendered for the contract, the successful tenderer was Martinborough Builders and Joiners.

Before the new station could be started, many hours of work in preparing the section was done, mostly using voluntary labour by Brigade members and members of the public to do such jobs as tree felling, soil cartage, gravel cartage, and piping of the stream a distance of some 265 feet.

The new station was officially opened by Mr. S.S. Dean, chairman of the Fire Service Council, on September 22nd, 1962. And so ended the life of the old fire station, which had admirably served the Greytown Borough for 72 years. The old station was eventually sold to Mr. R. Skipage for £50 for dismantling.

The new station had a floor area of 2,400 sq. ft, containing an appliance bay, watch room, locker room, hose room, double living quarters and a social hall of approx. 720 sq. ft. Now Greytown had one of the most up to date stations for a town of it size. Standing behind the station is a twelve and a half metre high steel tower, erected at a cost of £365, of which £100 was spent on galvanizing. Before the use of modern rubber hosing, the tower was used for drying the canvas hoses. It also was used for ladder drills, abseiling practice and contains the fire siren or “hooter”.

Later additions to the station included lengthening of the appliance bay to give space for a second fire engine, a garage was built at the rear and then also iextended, as was the main hall increasing its floor by a third.

Original floor plan of the new fire station


Station Replacement Project

In November 2008 the NZFS engaged OPUS Consultants to assess all New Zealand fire stations and report on their ability to meet upcoming changes to requirements for building seismic strength standards. The initial OPUS report proposed that the Greytown fire station would require significant strengthening work to be carried out. The Greytown Volunteer Fire Brigade submitted in parallel with the OPUS report a business case the recommended the seismic strengthening funding be put towards a full station rebuild. The business case suggested that the 1962 building was near the end of its operational life and was also no longer fit for purpose, nor did it suit the needs of the today’s NZFS or modern Greytown.

After due consideration, the NZFS essentially accepted what the business case recommended. A new fire station is now expected to be built on the same existing site in 2016-17. The intention is create a emergency service hub with multiple agencies in the building.

Original Fire Station

           The Original Greytown Fire Station 1890 - 1962

In 1888, James Lewis of the Brigade, on behalf of his wife, Jane Lewis, offered to the brigade a section of land at 163 Main St. The asking price of title was £5. On the 28th October, a meeting was held where it was decided that a replacement station must be built immediately. Plans were received almost at once and the subject was brought before the Greytown Borough Council for their assistance to build the new station.  In 1890, the section of land owned by the Brigade was transferred to the ratepayers in such a way that it could only be used for Fire Brigade purposes. The estimated cost of the new station was £150 and the Borough Council was asked to grant a donation of £50 towards its construction.

The meeting of the Brigade held on 24th March 1890 records correspondence being tabled from the Borough Council granting £25 towards the estimated £150 cost of the building, providing the ground was vested in the Council and Fire Brigade. Unfortunately at this point, records of the minutes of the Brigade have either been lost or destroyed, but it can be assumed that the station was opened in the second half of 1890.

The station ground floor contained the engine room, social room and library, the upper floor being utilised as a meeting room and gymnasium.



Old Town Hall

Competition team posing outside the old town hall, note the bell tower on the left.

6th February 1882, a motion was put to the Greytown Borough Council by Cr. E. Gray, “to vote fifty pounds toward the establishment of a brigade, wells, ladders and all contingencies”. The motion was seconded by Cr. Bright and was successfully carried. The following month saw the Greytown Borough Council setting aside a sum of money to provide an engine and this time efforts were successful and the Greytown Volunteer Fire Brigade became a reality. The first station to be established was attached to the Town hall, situated on the corner of Main Street and Church Street.

On the morning of the 12th October 1889, the Brigade received a heavy blow when a disastrous fire destroyed the town hall and station shed, causing damage amounting to £1000. There was no insurance for the building or contents, fortunately the engine had a narrow escape, being removed from its burning shed just in time.