Heroic efforts in fire and floods recognised at Council Bravery Awards

Published on 12 August 2021

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Two dramatic events in the District were in focus at a Council bravery awards ceremony in Chambers today [12 August] – the Kohukohu Masonic Lodge fire on 30 April 2021 and the rescue of three people during the Pawarenga Floods.

A suspicious fire at the 130-year-old Masonic Lodge destroyed the Category II registered historic building, which was one of the oldest surviving lodges in the country.  The efforts of Chief Fire Officer, Neil Matheson, firefighters Lindsey Davidson and Eva Walker, as well as neighbours Shannon and Malcolm Tindal, Sean Butler, Brian Crooks were recognised.  Mayor John Carter said, “the destruction of the 130-year-old Masonic Lodge was a devastating loss of a much-loved icon in the North Hokianga.  Without the heroic efforts of neighbours using garden hoses and firefighters, it’s likely more historic buildings and homes would have been lost.” 

Also recognised at the awards was Mac (Macca) Proctor who played a key role in rescuing three people from their car during floods at Pawarenga Road in 2020.  The Mayor said “Macca Proctor arrived out of the darkness in his dinghy to rescue three people stranded in their car who were unable to swim and at risk of hypothermia.  The fire brigade was then able to pull the dinghy and its occupants through the floodwaters to safety.” 

Mayor Carter presented the award recipients with bravery certificates and invited Chief Fire Officer, Neil Mathieson, to give a brief speech encouraging more volunteers to join their local volunteer fire brigades.