Former Tereora College students Terangi Taio and Lotacia Taringa are the first women employed by the Airport Authority fire service.
Terangi says: “There have never been any women firefighters; I thought becoming one of the first would be a challenge and a great opportunity.
“You never know what you want to do until you try it and I didn’t know what I was getting into.”
Terangi says training has been intense because the job requires a lot of fitness and mental strength.
She adds the most important thing for her is having the right mind-set in real life situations where she will be required to save lives using proper fire rescue procedures.
“It’s about building up your mental strength to do your job right.”
Terangi, who has completed her month long basic training, said “at first the training was hard to adapt, there was a lot of heavy lifting but it has been so rewarding.”
She says the theory work proved challenging and even
the practical drills the recruits have done like hose running drills, learning about the firefighter’s kit and emergency breathing apparatus proved handful.
Terangi is glad to have successfully completed the training, adding the coolest thing she has gotten to do since then is drive the red domestic fire truck around the airport.
She says she enjoys “chilling out” with her fellow firefighters after drills and watching all the passengers come off the planes.
“I see myself working here long term, there’s so much to learn and so much experience to gain to rise in the ranks.
“It’s been hard work but I’m most proud to be one of the first women to open this career pathway for other females.”
Fire chief, George Nicholls is pleased with the two female recruits. He says they have really proved themselves to be strong firefighters, overcoming the physical requirements.
Nicholls says the inclusion of female firefighters is a big change for the airport fire team.
“We work as brothers and have now found ourselves with two sisters. We work as a team here and trust each other.”
Yesterday at the Careers Expo held at National Auditorium Domes, Terangi and Lotacia helped promote their profession at the Fire Rescue booth.