Newlands Volunteer Fire Brigade


The first pump allocated to Newlands was a Scammell pump mounted on a wheel barrow. A bucket had to be carried to enable the pump to be primed. This pump was used by the Fire Police until a Bedford Van with a Trailer Pump was provided. The Fire Police then utilised this for some time and it was the first appliance used by the Volunteer brigade on its formation. The next appliance of any consequence was an open machine, a 1947 Ford V8 (No 7). One had to remember to lower the beacon before driving in or out of the station! This appliance was replaced by a 1968 D600 Ford (No.11) which was a very popular vehicle among the members. Unfortunately, because of the reliability of this appliance (and the unreliability of some other frontline appliances), No.11 was frequently taken away from Newlands - often for lengthy periods - to go on the run elsewhere. The replacement appliance at this time was, more often than not, a Landrover (No 16) which could carry little in the way of equipment and crew. No 12, another Ford D600, replaced No 11 for a time until a Dennis (No 9), crash gearbox and all, was allocated to Newlands. This was replaced by an 1976 ERF with automatic gearbox and a 1000 gpm pump. This appliance had a fibreglass cab but had been provided with a roll cage within the cab and bullbars in front. Despite this, the permanent staff had 'blacked' its use and they generally would not drive it. This was a blessing insofar as Newlands brigade were concerned in that the problem that had occurred for many years with the Newlands appliance being taken away to run elsewhere disappeared and we had a machine that remained 'ours' - apart from servicing or repairs. Towards the end of 1988 the ERF was replaced for good by an 1976 International, ex Wainuiomata. This appliance has had a chequered life in the time it has been in Newlands. Within an hour of going on the run the clutch went and the whole lot had to be towed away! Several weeks later when travelling to Kilbirnie to pick up some gear off the ERF. the ladder was lost when it fell off the appliance on Cobham Drive. A fault in the battery charging system was also a source of trouble. Other appliances have been at Newlands for varying periods - Range Rovers, Internationals, Fords, Bedfords, Commers, etc. as reliefs while servicing or repairs have been undertaken. At one stage it was not possible to anticipate what appliance would be on station when the siren sounded and, more often than not, one that few were familiar with would be waiting. Of course, it had to happen (and a few times at that!) for the Control Room to activate the siren for a call and the first member to answer would have to advise that there was no appliance on station to respond. Communication at its best! Not only that, but for Range Rovers and Land Rovers Chief Fire Officer's Orders had been issued that no one was to drive these vehicles without formally having passed a four-wheel-drive test. This Order did not appear to refer to those unqualified four-wheeldrivers in Newlands! As the age of the International applicance increased, it became increasingly more expensive to maintain. It was one of only three appliances remaining in the Wellington area which was petrol driven, and required more and more repairs to maintain its serviceability. A limitation on a replacement appliance was the physical size of the Appliance Bay of the station. While it has been adequate in the past, with the ever increasing dimensions of newer appliances, it became increasingly difficult to fit the station around any of the newer machines. Our current appliance came to us for these reasons. The (petrol) International was found to be costing an excessive amount in maintenance and operating expenses. After considering a range of appliances offered / suggested to us, it was found that, while our response history indicated that at a minimum a 6/2 was required, the only vehicle which would fit into our appliance bay was the Hino 6/1.