Firefighting family force of four from farm

One Waitahuna family has found a fourth firefighter for the local fire brigade.

Briar Holgate recently graduated training and joined her father and two older brothers as a qualified firefighter in the Waitahuna volunteer fire brigade.

"I remember Dad joining up when I was little and I grew up with him suddenly having to drop everything and go off to emergencies", the year 12 Lawrence Area School pupil said.

"I knew back then I wanted to be like him - and my brothers."

Briar and brother Bryn, a builder, live at home on the family farm between Waitahuna and Lawrence, and travel with their father to callouts for both town’s brigades.

Waitahuna’s firefighting Holgates, (from left) dad Quentin and siblings Crede, 20, Bryn, 19, and...
Waitahuna’s firefighting Holgates, (from left) dad Quentin and siblings Crede, 20, Bryn, 19, and Briar, 17, continue a long emergency-service tradition. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Eldest brother Crede is a qualified firefighter in Cromwell, where he lives and also works as a builder.

"Minimum age to join is 16 and all three of them pretty much came down to join on their 16th birthday", their father, Senior Firefighter Quentin Holgate said.

"I joined Waitahuna [brigade] when I moved to the small community from Balclutha 12 years ago.

"My father Stuart is a paramedic with Balclutha St John.

"Watching him go on callouts was an inspiration when we were kids and I thought it would be pretty cool to be like that.

"It’s great my kids like it too; they know what they’re doing [and] between the four of us, the Holgate family has 21 years’ firefighting experience, so far."

The volunteers attend medical emergencies as well as fires and road crashes, and said there were incidents where all four had been on the scene.

"Minimum crew for most callouts is four breathing-apparatus trained people", Waitahuna Chief Fire Officer Daniel Wark said.

"When the siren goes and I’m first at the station, it’s great to see the Holgates’ car coming round the corner because I know straight away we’re going to have a full team ready to go.

"It’s a tradition that seems to run in some families but I’m not aware of four firefighters from the same family all operational at the same time."

The firefighting Holgates were quick to thank the fifth member of their team, who they relied on for a warm welcome home after callouts.

"I don’t go to sleep until they come home", wife and mother Lamane Holgate said.

"Helping others is just them doing what they do. I’m very proud of them."