An engaging address from 95 year old Frank Hardy OBE, QFSM captivated the 400 attendees at the UFBA Conference in Christchurch.
After immigrating to New Zealand in 1949, Frank joined the Christchurch Metropolitan Fire Brigade. He served there for 12 years, attaining the rank of Station Officer. Frank moved to Dunedin Brigade as Chief Fire Officer in 1961 and then returned to Christchurch Brigade as Chief in 1968.
The inaugural Fire Service Commission was headed by a public servant, Sir Jack Hunn. Much to his surprise, Frank was approached by the Minister of Internal Affairs in 1974 about becoming a Fire Commissioner. He was appointed as one of the first two uniformed Fire Commissioners in 1975 and served in that position until his retirement in 1982.
While commenting on the current fire services reform, Frank assured delegates the fire service has been undergoing change since the very first national fire legislation was put in place in 1907.
“Change is the normal circumstance,” he said.
Frank shared how he had spent every hour of his service studying and is now learning Te Reo. One of his goals in life was to get a hole-in-one and there was a loud cheer from the delegates when he revealed he had achieved this at 93 years old.
Frank remarked he had plenty of friends and most of them were volunteer firefighters.
“I have enormous respect for each and every firefighter,” Frank said. “The strength of the fire service is the strength of the brigade.”
Frank was acclaimed with a standing ovation by delegates following his entertaining address.
Following the Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Peter Dunne’s address at Conference, Frank was invited to attend the signing of the Transitional Advocacy and Support Agreement by UFBA and the New Zealand Fire Service Commission.
From left: NZFSC Chair Hon Paul Swain, Hon Peter Dunne, Frank Hardy and UFBA Chair Rick Braddock
Two appliances owned by the Fire Services Historical Society in Christchurch (the Ford V8 pictured and a Dennis) were on display outside the Wigram Airbase conference venue.
These appliances were the first to arrive at the tragic Ballantyne’s fire of November 1947 where 41 lives were lost.
Frank rode on both appliances numerous times during his service in Christchurch.
Frank is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers, a Past President of the Otago Southland Provincial Fire Brigades’ Association, a UFBA Life Honorary Member and a New Brighton Volunteer Fire Brigade Life Honorary Member.
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