Website Logo
Recovery Tuakana by day, fire fighter by night

Recovery Tuakana by day, fire fighter by night

If working in the mental health and addiction space isn’t enough, try battling blazes on the front line.

Tui Ora Tuakana Whaiwero Maha Ron McGrath says it’s a ‘fine balancing act’ between full-time mahi and responding to an emergency call out.

“The fire brigade helps balance what I do outside of mahi as well as giving me good discipline. It’s the extension of where I fill my cup,” said Ron.

Ron began intense fire training in March 2023 and became a fully-fledged firefighter in February 2024, which was acknowledged at the recent Hāwera Volunteer Fire Brigade awards ceremony.

The awards night also celebrated the support of those who employ firefighters. Tui Ora received a certificate of appreciation and will be added to the acknowledgment notice on the front wall of the Hāwera station.

“Tui Ora is all about the community, and working as a firefighter is a branch to what I do at work,” said Ron.

Ron is also to undergo training to become a rural firefighter.

“Being a firefighter also helps me in my mahi because we do a lot of training such as how to lead a team, how to manage a crisis, how to manage different situations.”

“Being in the brigade is a form of relaxation for me, although fighting fires isn’t relaxing, it’s about saving one kiwi at a time.”

Ron’s firefighting success hasn’t come easy as he had to extinguish his own addiction fires first.

“In the years of being clean, I’ve done more in the last 15 years than I did in the 40-odd years of drinking and drugging. It’s only when you get well that you can help others get well,” he said.

“This is me giving back and making a difference in my spare time.”

Skip to content