Working with whānau from Ngāti Te Aukiwa, the Waitaruke Marae Committee and Fire & Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), scientists from Scion and Te Tira Whakamātaki (The Maori Biosecurity Network) hosted two days of fire-related events on 2-3 August, with the aim of educating Northland communities about extreme fires. Extreme fires are the worst of wildfires, being more intense, faster-spreading and resistant to current fire management strategies. Major fires threaten not only our communities and their resources, but also native taonga.
The first event, namely a “values and protection” workshop identified what whānau, hapū and community value and want protected during extreme fire events. This information will be to help guide development of ‘targeted protection’ strategies, based around the most appropriate methods for protecting the values identified. Feedback on values will also be included in the development of plans for our national agencies, so they know what communities value the most, and where to focus their efforts and resources in the event of an extreme fire.
A community fire fair took place on the second day. This day was all about fire safety, fire science and fun, with entertainment for children, giveaways, education stalls, kitchen fire demonstration, and a helicopter monsoon bucket demonstration and fire trucks. A planned demonstration scrub burn had to be postponed because of wet weather.
Check out media coverage of the events: