Saturday, 11 July 2020


Farewell to the “nicest, nicest man”

On Wednesday afternoon last week, the Whitianga Volunteer Fire Brigade (WFVB) fare welled one of their own.

Max Day moved to Whitianga with his wife, Kathy, in 2004. In 2006, Max joined the WVFB and, like everything else in life he was involved in, he gave the brigade everything he had. During his years as a firefighter, the very popular Max participated in hose running competitions, combat challenges (described as the “firefighter iron man”) and Sky Tower stair climb challenges. He was also the lead medic of the WVFB’s elite road crash rescue team.

Two years ago Max was diagnosed with an incurable illness, but that didn’t slow him down. He and Kathy purchased a motorhome and explored all corners of New Zealand. Max also remained as active as he could in the WVFB.

From when he joined the WFVB until his diagnosis, Max attended an unprecedented 100 per cent of the brigade’s musters.

Two weeks before Max’s death on 31 August, he was made a life member of the WFVB. The ceremony took place at his and Kathy’s home and was attended by all the members of the brigade.

At the celebration of his life on Wednesday, Max’s coffin was draped with a New Zealand flag, which will accompany the WVFB’s road crash rescue team to South Africa in October this year when they represent New Zealand in the 2018 World Rescue Challenge.

When Max started his final journey on Wednesday on the back of a vintage fire engine, the fire siren sounded across Whitianga. Undoubtedly, in years to come, whenever the siren is heard, many members of the WVFB will remember a man who wasn’t just an exemplary firefighter, but also, as Kathy said on Wednesday, “the nicest, nicest man.”


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