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New vehicle for Maketu Medical Response

After years of responding to medical emergencies in the rural communities east of Te Puke using vans, trucks, and second-hand ambulances, the Maketu Fire Service now has a brand-new, purpose-built, fully kitted-out medical response vehicle.

Trinity Lands donated $92,500 to the total $125,000 cost of the vehicle, which looks and operates like an ambulance but isn’t technically an ambulance because it is manned by volunteer firefighters.

Blessing the new vehicle

Local minister and kaumatua Kahi Hanara blessed the vehicle in February 2021, in a dusk ceremony attended by sponsors, community representatives and fire fighters. Fire service volunteers placed their hands on the vehicle as Hanara asked that they be watched over while serving their community.

Community heroes

Trinity Lands’ general manager of orchards Nathan Smith told the gathering that Trinity’s contribution was dwarfed by the brave contribution of those who volunteered to attend medical emergencies across the district. 

“You are the heroes of the community – we want to thank you very much.”

Nathan Smith,
Trinity Lands, General Manager of Orchards

80% or all fire service callouts are medical

Maketu volunteer fire service covers an area from Pongakawa in the east to Okere Falls in the south and the length of the Tauranga Eastern Link. In rural communities like Maketu, around 80 percent of all fire service callouts are medical. In the first two months of 2021, Maketu Fire Service responded to 19 medical events, 13 vehicle crashes and 10 fires.

Medical vehicles for rural communities

Shane said Maketu had had some form of medical response unit since 1996, when the Bay of Plenty village was chosen to pilot a programme to instal medical vehicles in rural communities.

“We started with a Toyota Hilux and built from there. Having high-quality response units is vital and so appreciated.”

Shane Gourlay,
Chief fire officer  

Gourlay said the community was so grateful for the “magnificent wagon” donated by Trinity Lands and a raft of co-sponsors.