Kerikeri fire brigade win community spirit award
A Far North fire brigade has taken out the community spirit award from the Sky Tower Stair Challenge for the second time in three years.
The team from Kerikeri, were awarded a taiaha for the achievement, at the awards dinner on May 13 following the event which sees firefighters tackle 1103 stairs and 51 floors of the iconic Auckland landmark, while wearing 25kgs of kit.
This year 900 firefighters from around the country raised over $1.25million for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
Kerikeri Station Officer Ben Scott says the way the communities get behind the brigades is a "symbol of the north".
"We had strong support from the community, which is very much appreciated."
The taiaha was blessed by Reverend Sidney Kingi at the Kerikeri Station where it will remain on display.
The team raised $26,529, through a car wash, walkathon, sausage sizzle and charity auction to be the sixth highest team fundraiser.
Founder of the event, Tony Scott from Kawakawa, who works as the Auckland Airport deputy fire chief raised $23,342, to make him the second highest individual fundraiser.
Lara Hastings from the Kaikohe Fire Brigade team, who claimed the inaugural community spirit award in 2015, says it is great to see another local brigade win the award.
"Hopefully another Far North brigade will get it in the next few years."
Paihia team member Tanya Bijl was hoping to be the fastest open woman to climb the Sky Tower this year, but cutting her finger down to the bone and requiring surgery three weeks before the event put paid to that.
"I was training so hard, so it was quite a kick to get the injury, but it is what it is."
Her time of 16.21 is impressive considering she could only use one hand on the railing.
It makes her all the more determined to win next year, she says.
She says she owes her team mates Jonny Greener and Michael Champtaloup heaps after supporting her throughout her climb.
Joan Natanahira and Zia Yew from the Ahipara brigade also took part, with Kawakawa firefighters Kahlia Scott and Adelene Nes.