50 years of Service



Mike Culpin of Waiuku thought he was going to sneak under the radar last week, as he celebrates 50 years of service to the New Zealand Fire Brigade.

However, the team at the Post felt it was an achievement that needed to be recognised.
Mike began his career in the Fire Brigade as a permanent in 1965, when he joined the team in Auckland.
Originally Mike wanted to follow in his grandfather and father’s footsteps to become a plumber, but his father told him it wasn’t for him.
“I then wanted to run away to the Navy, but my father wouldn’t sign the papers. So I settled on becoming a fireman.”
Mike explained that when he first started, it was incredibly strict, with most of the men coming from military or wartime backgrounds.
“Everything was immaculate. Nothing was ever out of place and you took great pride in your presentation; the shine you could get on your boots was pretty amazing. I was only ever late once as the consequences certainly put me off doing that again,” laughs Mike.
Mike stayed in his role at Auckland Fire Brigade until 1996, when he retired. Retirement didn’t last long and Mike soon found himself volunteering at the Waiuku Fire Brigade.
“My head space just wasn’t ready to give it up yet, so I thought I’d join up at Waiuku for another couple of years and then properly retire.
Then another couple of years became another, and now here I am. I think I’ll play the next couple of years by ear.”

Mike says that he has collected many memories over the past 50 years, and says the ones that stand out is the camaraderie with his fellow firemen and the enjoyment of being able to help people and the community as a whole.
“I have made some great friends over the years, including many that have stood the test of time and lasted 47 years.
“You also never know what you are presented with when that siren goes, every day is a new day.”
Mike is the fourth firemen to come from the Waiuku station to have reached 50 years of service, which includes the late Bill Renall, Kevin Drummond and Jim Sneddon. Upon celebrating 50 years of service, Mike has an important message for the community.
“Make sure you have fire alarms and that they are working. Do not drink and drive as I’ve seen the consequences of both and it isn’t nice and is totally preventable.”

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