Newlands Volunteer Fire Brigade

Social Activities

Since the formation of the Brigade social activities have played a large part in the life of the Brigade. Each year to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Brigade a 'Yard Night' is held. Challenges are taken from members of Volunteer Brigades from surrounding areas and the winner is the one who downs the contents of the yard glass in the shortest time and with fewest penalties. Participants are clad in suitable attire and spillage results in time penalties. Some phenomenal times have been recorded and some have made a habit of winning. Some older hands have been known to put on demonstrations after the contest rather than show up younger participants.

The support given by the partners and families to the members is very much appreciated. The inconvenience of lost sleep, interrupted meals and planned outings spoiled because of the occurrence of an incident at an inappropriate time is all part of the involvement of being in a Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The members endeavour to repay their partners by the holding of Ladies' Nights when the Brigade as a whole, together with ex-members and wives, dine out at a suitable venue. To do this and still provide fire protection within Newlands, our good neighbours in the Johnsonville Brigade provide the necessary assistance, with Newlands reciprocating when Johnsonville treat their partners. Newlands have also provided a similar arrangement with the Tawa Brigade. Neighbours often provide instant baby-sitting services when the siren has called firefighters when looking after young ones or have provided transport to the Station when the car was not available.

Close relationships have been built up with other Brigades besides Johnsonville and Tawa. Each year contingents from Point Howard and Newlands converge on each other’s Stations for a convivial evening. One particular evening will stand out in the memory of some members for a long time to come. Those in the know took things easy on one Point Howard night. The next morning an exercise with the Wellington Brigade called for some energetic work hauling portable pumps and equipment from the Police Launch up the side of a large cargo ship moored at the Wellington Wharves. It was just as well the ship was not rolling and pitching on the open seas but there were some very green faces to be seen anyway!

The Brigade adopted a policy in its very early days of not fundraising for Brigade activities. Accordingly the grant from the Fire Board and later the Fire Service Commission has been the main source of income. This has been supplemented from time-to-time with income earned from maintaining the Station, interest on surplus funds invested, donations from grateful members of the public for services rendered, and other services such as maintaining water pressure while the City Corporation commissioned a new water reservoir. Equipment and uniform items not provided by the Commission have been purchased from these funds. Careful husbanding of these funds has enabled a reasonable reserve to be accumulated to enable milestones in the Brigade history to be marked. On occasion darts evenings have been held against local clubs and on one notable night the Brigade hosted the Fiji Dart Club of British Columbia. A close relationship has built up between the local Lions Club and the Brigade. They have united every year that it has been held to collect for Telethon. The Lions Club of Newlands has provided a good deal of equipment to the Fire Service - the Jaws of Life carried on the Wellington Brigade's Heavy Rescue Tender and an Ejector Pump and Chainsaw for the Newlands appliance. One deviation from the fundraising policy was the provision of pocket pagers to augment the Station's siren which, due to weather conditions, is not always heard by members. Members ran a raffle, and with the generous help of the public and service organisations including the local Licensing Trust, a sum of money was raised to purchase fifteen pagers