Hokitika Volunteer Fire Brigade

Appliances over the years

Appliances over the years

The first gear purchased by the new Hokitika VFB in November 1865 was Hook and Ladder from Ballarat, Australia (see photo in 'Appliances' gallery).  It was not until July 1866 that the first manual engine was purchased from Melbourne.  Later Brigade records recall the name of this engine being ‘Victoria’.  One of the earliest surviving photos of the Hokitika VFB taken in 1869 shows the Brigade with the ‘Victoria’ and the Hook and Ladder, and a hose reel outside the first fire station.

In the aftermath of the great fire of July 1869, a public meeting was held it was decided steam engine should be purchased.  The funds for this were not forthcoming and it was decided instead to buy a manual pump from Shand and Mason Company of London, similar to one used by the Christchurch VFB.

It was not until January 1875 that the new manual engine, the ‘Surprise’ arrived from Melbourne.  Celebrations marking the engine’s arrival, were marred by a fire at the Station.  The ‘Surprise’ only just survived, being rescued from the flames with its top badly charred.

With the assistance of a committee of Hokitika citizens, in June 1883 the Brigade took ownership of a long awaited steam engine “Triumph” made by Merryweather and Sons of London.  After a few minor delays in getting some parts replaced, the performance of the engine was tested, and it was reported that it delivered a ‘splendid stream’ of water.

The trio of old engines served the community of Hokitika for 53 years until it was broken up in 1933, when the Hokitika Fire Board decided to sell the steam engine. Along with this in 1936 the Fire Board made the decision to purchase the Brigade’s first motorised pump and reel.  The tender was a Buick Fire Tender, a second hand appliance from the Napier Fire Board.

From 1945 the Brigade had the loan of a trailer pump and a Ford truck to pull the trailer from the Department of Internal Affairs.  This was in use until 1950 when a new tender was obtained in the form of a Ford truck and pump. 

In 1955 with the formation of the Kaniere Brigade a Scammell pump was obtained for the Brigade to use.

In 1959 the Kaniere Brigade recieved a trailer for their pump which was of great use.

In 1965 the Ford truck and trailer pump were replaced by a Bedford with a closed in cab, and fitted with a Godiva 500 rear mounted pump.

In 1975 the old 1950 Ford was retired to the Kaniere Brigade, and a new Ford D600 was purchased for Hokitika.  The tender was fitted with a waterous mid-mounted 2 stage pump, with two high pressure hose reels with electric rewinds.

In 1980 the Bedford was replaced by a Dodge diesel V-8.  The Bedford went to Kaniere, and the 1950 Ford went to Haast.

1987 saw the commissioning of a Mitsubishi M8S appliance for Hokitika.  The Ford D600 was moved to Kaniere Brigade in 1991, and was replaced by a new Hino in 1998.  It was used by the Kaniere Brigade until the amalgamation of Kaniere with Hokitika in 2003. In June 1991 the Brigade took charge of a 1982 International. 

In 2011 a new Iveco type 1 appliance replaced the Mitsubishi. The following year the International was retired and ex-Greymouth VFB 1987 Mitsubishi became the rescue tender for a short while. The Mitsubishi was replaced with another new Iveco appliance in mid-2013. These are the current Hokitika VFB appliances.

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