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Fire chief Charlie set to end 46-year shift

The region will have a new fire chief from late September when Charlie Turei retires after a 46-year firefighting career.

Mr Turei started in the Wellington district and served in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Whanganui, Kawerau and Taupo before coming to Gisborne in 2006 as area fire commander.

When he retires on September 27 he will be replaced by former Gisborne firefighter Peter Clark, who previously served in Gisborne as assistant area commander.

Mr Turei, of Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti descent, spent many of his younger days in the Tolaga Bay area.

He rates the professional career firefighters in Gisborne as “the best I've come across as I've travelled the country” and also holds the region's volunteer firefighters in high regard.

“One of the reasons I have stayed in Gisborne as area commander for the past 15 years has been to ensure the Tairawhiti volunteers get the support, continued backup and appropriate vehicle fleet and equipment.”

He has been excited about the changes taking place in the management and organisation of Fire and Emergency NZ.

“The community of Tairawhiti should see some very good changes coming. I'm picking that once the organisation structure has fully stood up the real work will begin.”

■ Charlie Turei will be profiled in The Weekender in The Gisborne Herald on Saturday.

Changing of the guard: Area fire commander Charlie Turei (right) will hand over the reins of the Tairawhiti firefighting service to former Gisborne firefighter Peter Clark at the end of September. Picture by Liam Clayton