New RTV for Matarangi Volunteer Fire Brigade

19 Oct 2021

New RTV for Matarangi Volunteer Fire Brigade

The Matarangi Volunteer Fire Brigade has taken delivery of a new off-road vehicle which will have multiple uses, including towing its marine rescue craft for the upcoming summer season.

In addition to attending road accidents, and fighting house and vegetation fires, the brigade’s 29 volunteer members are often called upon to carry out offshore rescues with its 4.2m RIB boat which is fitted with a 40hp Mercury engine.

The brigade members are highly competent at what they do, but this year they are adding a new element to their skills, training up as surf lifesavers as well. “Our new vehicle, a Kubota 850cc Sidekick RTV, will be used for towing our boat, among other things, as we’ve had to dispose of the last one due to a rusty chassis,” said Matarangi Fire Chief, Stuart Arnold. “A big part of our service is marine rescues on the Whangapoua Bar. Almost every summer, boats overturn on the bar. And last year we spent a lot of time rescuing a lot of people being blown offshore on paddle boats and kayaks and that sort of thing.”

The Matarangi Volunteer Fire Brigade works closely with the Whitianga Coastguard, the Police and other fire brigades when called on. “Although many of our guys who use our boat have Coastguard qualifications, including boat-masters and yacht-masters, and are experienced boaties themselves, we are in the process of going through Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and obtaining their qualification just to have that as well for people using our boat,” said Stuart. “I think we have 14 crew members who are in the process of going through the training at the moment.”

Stuart said that the new vehicle would be put to good use. “There is a real need for it here in our area,” he said.

While Stuart was reluctant to talk about the price of the RTV, it is understood it would have cost around $25,000, a fair bit of that coming from a grant from Pub Charity, plus a special discount offered by Central Motors Ngatea (the Kubota agents for the Coromandel and Hauraki Plains).

The four-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicle - which has big tyres ideal for beach work, diff lock technology, a tray on the back and seating for two people - can be used in numerous emergency situations. “We will certainly use the RTV for all sorts of fire calls, as we did with the last one, like the major fire up on Comers Road just the other side of Whitianga four years or so ago,” said Stuart. “Apart from towing our boat, the vehicle will no doubt get a good workout for scrub fires and vegetation fires - anywhere that we need an off-road vehicle, that is really going to assist.”

The assistance Stuart referred to could be anything from carrying fire hoses, pumps, water, and food and refreshment for fire crews.

Stuart said that their crews would be getting used to operating the vehicle in training, as they do regularly with their boat. “We’ll make sure that we train with the RTV and train with the boat,” he said. “It keeps our crews familiar with the RTV and the boat, ready to go into action when needed, and it also means that both the boat and vehicle are kept in top condition to be ready when called on.

Central Motors representative, John Harvey, handed the RTV to Stuart at the Matarangi Fire Station last week.

Pictured – Fire Chief Stuart Arnold (left) accepting the Matarangi Volunteer Fire Brigade’s new Kubota 850cc Sidekick RTV from John Harvey of Central Motors Ngatea last week.