Our team was called out recently to a large fire event, Awarua Bay, near Tiwai Point, Bluff, Southland.

The blaze started out as a native scrub fire, but took hold quickly, turning into a challenging and prolonged operation, due to Southland recently experiencing extra dry weather and tough drought conditions.  A large contingent of firefighters was on-site, with several helicopters attending, and heavy machinery used to create fire breaks.


Rapid Relief Team was onsite over four days, providing meals and bottled water for the firefighters.  A hot breakfast, lunch, and tea were served each day, keeping the fire crew fed and refreshed while on the move, often with helicopters transporting the hot food out to the men on the ground.


Especially surprising and heartening to our team, was the positive response from the firefighters.  There was genuine appreciation for the meals and water bottles as they returned from the fire area covered in soot.  According to reports from some, normal practice at the end of a hard working day had been to send someone off for $500 of KFC!


There was a surprise, however, the following day with a subsequent call from the Police Lead for the Southland Land Search and Rescue team requesting assistance in providing meals for a search and rescue event.  Two hunters had failed to return to camp and were reported missing in dense bush terrain in Fiordland, near Lake Hauroko. This required a bit of quick thinking on the spot with logistics for two simultaneous events on the go!

Eventually, it was decided to enlist a team of helpers from Gore to take over meal operations for the fire event and to move the group of Invercargill volunteers up to Fiordland to assist with the search and rescue operation.

We’re incredibly proud of the team in Southland, with their dedication to serving their community and adaptability to change at short notice!


‘A big shout out to the Rapid Relief Team NZ Southland Team who provided our firefighters with yummy food.’‘Everyone knows how important kai is when doing hard mahi.’

Fire and Emergency | Southland


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