Te Anau fire chief goes above and beyond

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Te Anau Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Graeme ‘Possum’ Moffat recently received the “Going Above and Beyond” award in the inaugural Te Kei (Region 5) Symbol of Excellence Awards, for the ongoing commitment, and work with K10. Photo: Supplied

TE ANAU Volunteer Fire Brigade and its chief fire officer Graeme ‘Possum’ Moffat recently received the “Going Above and Beyond” award in the inaugural Te Kei (Region 5) Symbol of Excellence Awards.

The award, Nga Tohu Raukura (Symbol of Excellence) from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), was presented by Northern-Southland FENZ group manager Hamish Angus for the brigade’s commitment and work with the K10 programme.

K10 is a well-being initiative run by Te Anau brigade which brings firefighters and emergency service workers in need to Te Anau for a weekend of fun and relaxation free
of charge.

The programme was created by Mr Moffat four years ago.

“Called K10 to Te Anau, after a radio code for fire appliance recommissioning, the project was originally focused on supporting the town’s volunteer firefighters’ mental health and now also offers help separate from Fire and Emergency for others by New Zealand’s peer support employee assistance counselling programmes. This is recommissioning the person and giving them a fully-funded, well-deserved break in Fiordland.”

Mr Moffatt started the programme after his firefighters attended a series of traumatic crashes in 2017 on the Milford Hwy which took their toll on the tightknit brigade.

Mr Moffat said each trip to Te Anau was tailormade to suit each recipient and had been mostly from the South Island, but included all sorts of people from different backgrounds.

It has previously included hunting trips, float plane rides and jet boating. People who experienced the Christchurch Mosque attacks and people with Stage 4 cancer have been a part of the programme.

He said the K10 programme relied on the generosity of Te Anau residents and the business community with so many on board for the programme.

“I would just like to thank the Fiordland community for their ongoing support for everything the brigade continues to do in these trying times. It hasn’t been easy for anybody. We appreciate it greatly.”

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