Demonstration of support, and demonstration of force

by | 5 Mar 2008 | Mahurangi West Hall | 0 comments

Sunday afternoon saw another tremendous turnout at the Mahurangi West Hall, this time to support a Pūhoi-based initiative.

Paul Ireland and Sean McLaren

Wickedly Wet and Wild: Paul Ireland and Sean McLaren introduce a local lad to the thrill of the fire hose. photographer Lavina Dawn Rowson

The very worthy recipient of Mahurangi West hospitality and generosity was the Pūhoi Volunteer Rural Fire Force.

Like rural volunteer rural fire force units throughout Aotearoa, Pūhoi’s relies heavily on community support.

In the introduction to the afternoon’s auction, held to raise funds for the force, Mahurangi West couple Mike and Maree Owston-Doyle were credited for facilitating the fire force going into active service, by paying for the volunteers’ pagers.

A short time later, in a dramatic demonstration their importance, the very same pagers activated, resulting in the swift departure of the volunteers.

It transpired that a medical emergency had occurred at Pūhoi, and the force was first on the scene—administering oxygen, amongst other assistance—some six minutes ahead of the arrival of an ambulance.

This impromptu demonstration was every bit as potent as the earlier scheduled one, which involved the hosing of was seemed to be endless quantities of water, onto the adjacent pasture. One local remarked that, had the display occurred prior to the drought breaking, it might have been altogether too unsettling.

The afternoon event commenced, at $4 per person, with tea, coffee and a serving from a rich selection of cakes—the apple cake served with whipped cream was well particularly well patronised. Business was brisk before and after the demonstration and would have been even better had those packed into the old schoolroom for the auction been able to move to get back to the servery for seconds.

The auction initially failed to generate the hugely generous bidding that typified to Christmas party occasion. The lesson here is that the punters’ extravagance grows in direct proportion to the quantity of alcohol being consumed.

Coastal Plan

One of Two: Eli Tolhopf operating the principal Pūhoi-based unit. Its mate, a sophisticated tanker, arrived shortly afterwards to allow the demonstration to lay on a staggering amount of water. photographer Lavina Dawn Rowson

Building the momentum of an auction requires enormous expertise, and the sheer number of donated items made the auctioneer’s job even harder. The timely arrival of Mike and Maree Owston-Doyle ahead of the lot consisting of a full day’s pampering donated by Waiwera Infinity Spa saw the first seriously sustained bidding. And if Mike was a fraction too slow in responding, Maree bid just as generously on his behalf for her own benefit—an auctioneer’s dream.

The return of the volunteers from their mission of mercy to Pūhoi further cranked up the general competition.

In keeping with the keeping it safe theme, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and hand-charged multifunction torches were auctioned, with a reserve of the cost these items are available directly from the Pūhoi Volunteer Rural Fire Force. Althought a final figure is not to hand, it is thought that about $3000 was raised.

The success of the afternoon, organised by Steve Reid and his fellow Mahurangi West civil defence coordinators, suggests the ‘Mahurangi West Thanks the Pūhoi Volunteer Rural Fire Force’ could rightfully become an annual event. Held on a Saturday afternoon–evening with plenty of notice, even more money and spirits might be raised.

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