National Forum

27 April 2017

The National Forum provided a comprehensive update on the transition to Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Over 200 guests were invited, including urban and rural fire services leaders and the sector.


Minister Peter Dunne praised the enthusiasm of personnel; saying huge progress had been made toward amalgamating 40 organisations into one unified fire service by 1 July 2017.

For copies of the main presentations please see under Leader Resources.

Volunteer Working Group Weekend

Silverstream, 25-26 February 2017

The first meeting of the Volunteer Working Group, comprising of volunteers from across the country, took place in Silverstream in February 2017. This helped us to gain a volunteers’ perspective on the transition to Fire and Emergency New Zealand on 1 July.

Hon, Paul Swain and Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne speaking at the Volunteer Working Group, February 2017.

Regional Executive Team meeting – Region 2

Hamilton, 17 January 2017

Transition Director, David Strong, was in the Waikato this week to meet the Hamilton, Ngaruawahia, Pirongia, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, and Greerton crews. A copy of the project update he provided to the Regional Executive Team (RET) of Region 2 is available here.

RFA Forum

Silverstream, 6/7 December

Leaders of rural fire services gathered in Silverstream, Lower Hutt, on 6 and 7 December 2016, to find out more about the transition and how it affects them. Transition Director David Strong provided an update on progress over the past three months, and what’s planned for the next 100 days.

View the presentation here.

NZPFU Conference

Palmerston North, 22/23 November

Transition leaders and Project Team members met some 40 delegates at this year’s New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU) annual conference, held in Palmerston North on 22 and 23 November. More information is available here

Workshopping different options for command and control on Day One.


Subject Matter Experts are now on board

A diverse team of subject matter experts have joined the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Transition Project to provide practical operational knowledge from within the sector, and “continues the emphasis on co-design that has been the basis of our planning and approach so far”, says Transition Director David Strong.

The body of knowledge these subject matter experts bring to the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Transition Project will be invaluable, ensuring that operational policy and processes are developed and implemented with input from those who understand what works and what doesn’t.

“With this group in place, you can rest assured that we’re listening, and recognising that success comes when we all work together”, says David.

Offering a strong voice for change, these representatives have been there and done it themselves, and bring those experiences to the overall thinking of the team. All are eager to be part of something special, the amalgamation of New Zealand’s existing fire services into one successful new organisation purpose built for the future.

These appointments continue to broaden the scope of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Transition Project’s knowledge, ensuring that no matter whether you’re rural or urban, career or volunteer, your voice is being heard.

The SMEs are: Thomas Harre, Nigel Dravitski, Ian Reade, Jeff White, Steve Lee, Todd O’Donoghue, Grant Haywood, and John Sutton, and you can read about their backgrounds by scrolling to the bottom of the Team page.


Find out about local committees and pilots

The first of two pilots to test how local committees will work starts before Christmas 2016 in Greater Auckland.

You can find out more about the purpose of local committees, what the pilots are designed for, and why Auckland was chosen, here

UFBA Conference

Christchurch, 28-30 October.

Transitioning to Fire and Emergency New Zealand was one of the major talking points at this year’s United Fire Brigades Association Conference, held at the RNZAF museum at the former Wingham Airforce base in Christchurch, 28-30 October.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Transition leaders and the Project team were invited by the UFBA Executive to update delegates and seek their feedback on key topics.

For copies of the transition related speeches and presentations, handouts, meeting notes, photos, and videos, from the conference, click here

This page will be updated as more material becomes available.




 Some highlights from the three day event.


What’s changing and what’s not

A simple guide to what’s changing, and what will stay the same, from Day One of Fire and Emergency New Zealand,  1 July 2017 is now available. Hard copies are also in the process of being distributed.

There is still a lot of detail to be determined prior to Day One and we will continue to keep you up to date on further developments.

We look forward to your feedback, and hope this one-pager will help give your teams further assurance about what will happen on, and from, Day One of Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Read the complete hand out here

Download the Did You Know? flyer here

Discussing day one

A picture of what Fire and Emergency New Zealand will look like from 1 July 2017 is emerging. The establishment of Fire and Emergency New Zealand moved a step closer last month after the Board formally approved the Day One Blueprint. For the past fortnight, the Transition Project team has been sharing this with sector leaders.

Sector leaders are being updated so they can help us ensure that fire services personnel are aware of, and can be involved in, the transition to Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

The Transition Project team will continue to provide updates during the next nine months, including taking opportunities to engage at forums like the UFBA conference in October and the NZPFU conference in November, so people can hear directly from us. In the meantime, find out more by talking to your leaders, or contacting us directly on

Some 30 delegates of the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union met in Wellington on 23 September 2016 to discuss the transition to the new organisation.
Image courtesy: Peter Nicolle.


New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union leaders and delegates; Board Chair, Paul Swain; NZFS leaders; and senior Transition Project team members, including Transition Director, David Strong, in Wellington on 23 September 2016.
Image courtesy: Peter Nicolle.


Submissions on the Bill now available to the public

The progress of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill has successfully moved through another step, with the 115 submissions from the sector made to the Select Committee now available for the public to read.

Take a look at the submissions on our information page, or go directly to the New Zealand Parliament website here



Conference generates good turnout – and discussions

Rural fire had a guaranteed and equal place in the country’s new national organisation, delegates were told at last month’s annual conference of the Forest and Rural Fire Association of New Zealand.

Speakers, ranging from Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne and New Zealand Fire Service Commission Board Chair Paul Swain through to Fire Service Chief Executive and National Paul Baxter, emphasised the importance of urban-rural co-operation in the functioning of Fire and Emergency New Zealand from 1 July next year.

About 120 delegates, many rural volunteer firefighters, gathered in Masterton from 27-30 July to hear about the merger of 40 organisations into a single national entity and what it would mean for the rural sector.

Gary Lockyer, Principal Advisor (Rural) on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Transition Project team, spoke on behalf of National Rural Fire Officer Kevin O’Connor, who was unable to attend the event.

He said some of those present had also attended a stakeholder day in Wellington earlier in the month, and the message at both was much the same: the sector was overdue for change; the sector had been widely consulted about reform; and the sector supported the change.

“In Masterton, the emphasis was on explaining how the rural firefighting sector would fit into the new organisation, and I’m confident delegates came away feeling comforted that their role and contribution – both in setting up and running Fire and Emergency New Zealand – were valued and assured.”

Keynote speaker Euan Fergusson urged delegates not to overlook the people aspect of the change process. He said Fire and Emergency New Zealand was not just about new organisational structures and reporting lines, but ultimately about how to merge more than 14,000 people into a single cohesive entity that was better than its previous component parts.

To do that, Mr Fergusson said, it was necessary to foster a culture that was respectful and inclusive and valued everyone’s contribution to wider organisational goals.

Panel discussions throughout the three days generated lively debate, and showed there was no waning of interest in the transition process. Indeed, one attendee was prompted to remark that the conference featured “the best panel discussion” he’d ever taken part in.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Transition Project Director David Strong speaks at the FRFANZ Conference.

From left to right – Toby Ganley, Policy Manager, DIA, Gary Lockyer, Principal Advisor (Rural), FENZ Transition Project, Kevin Ihaka, FRFANZ Management Committee Chairman Kevin Ihaka, and David Strong, Transition Director, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Transition Project.

NZFS Chief Executive Paul Baxter chats with FRFANZ members at the conference.

Pumicelands Deputy PRFO Steve Webb chats with NZFS’s Digital Manager Craig Pearce about new technology for fire services.

NZFS Board Chairman, Paul Swain talks in detail to conference attendees.

Bruce Kitto, Deputy Chairman of FRFANZ, chats with fellow Management Committee member Graeme MacIntyre.

UFBA’s CEO George Verry with Brendan Nally, Region 3, NZFS Fire Region Manager.

NZFS Chief Executive Paul Baxter chats with attendees.

Paul Swain, NZFS Board Chairman, and FRFANZ Management Committee member, Gavin O’Donnell.

UFBA director, Bill Butzbach chats with Gordon Foster and John Scott of FRFANZ, at the conference.

Stakeholders gather for Transition update

7 July 2016

Representatives of more than 60 stakeholder groups gathered in Wellington on 7 July 2016 for an update on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand transition. Board chair Paul Swain said he was delighted by the enthusiasm for the transition.

In the afternoon the 170 people broke into smaller groups to give feedback on workstreams needed to get Fire and Emergency New Zealand up and running. This feedback is being collated and will be posted here shortly.

People were also asked how they would like to be involved in the workstreams. The transition team will contact those people directly. Your voice counts. If you have any questions about the Fire and Emergency New Zealand transition contact the team at


Board chair Paul Swain and members Nicola Crauford, Peter Drummond, Te Arohanui Cook and Angela Hauk-Willis moved around the workshop groups to listen to the discussions. Te Arohanui Cook is pictured, centre, with Bruce Kitto, of the Forest and Rural Fires Association of New Zealand, left and Don Scott, Principal Rural Fire Officer, Wairoa District Council.

David Guard, Fire Region Manager, Region 5, New Zealand Fire Service, waits for the opening of the afternoon session. The 170 people present split into workshop groups to provide feedback on the Transition workstreams.

Toby Ganley, of the Department of Internal Affairs, explained the process that the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill has to go through before it can become law. Toby thanked stakeholders for their input during the Fire Services Review. Toby is pictured, centre, with Transition planning manager Fraser Fyfe (left) and Bruce Kitto, of the Forest and Rural Fires Association of New Zealand.