In 1990, in an effort to be competitive and comparable with other international fire departments, New Zealand firefighters established and hosted the First World Firefighter Games, in Auckland New Zealand. 1800 Athletes took part and the ‘Games’ were rated an outstanding success. This lead to the establishment of an international, biannual competition. Since then we have traveled and competed in hundreds of different events at 11 different WFF games venues throughout the world and held the NZ Fire Service’s Flag high and proud.
Our organisation of Firefighters formed an Association with the purpose of raising funds for the games now and in the future – for requirements such as travel, uniforms, sporting liaison etc. The Association established funding for the Games as its primary objective with its members as professionals who would encourage and promote fire safety in the home with the sole purpose of saving lives and property.
After the 1990 Games, it was decided to raise the required funds through the production of a calendar, featuring firefighters and their children, this would be sold by members, directly to the public. $4 to $5 from each calendar sold goes to support firefighters competing in international competitions. This has occurred now for 26 years, with calendar sales reaching incredible quantities due to an undeniable popularity. This has been confirmed by the request of the Alexanda Turnbull Library in Te Papa Museum, Wellington, to save a copy of each annual issue for perpetuity.
In the early years, The New Zealand Firefighters Calendar was produced solely to assist motivated firefighters in their sporting endeavours. As a consequence of events that touched the core of the membership, a decision was made to use a set value of the funds each year to benefit a chosen charity. The relationship we now have with the Child Cancer Foundation is both well established and extremely rewarding. Not only has the NZFSA managed to raise over $800,000.00 for Child Cancer Foundation over the years, but we also continue to generate high profile exposure of their brand and cause, and raise funds through these ventures also.
Our models (who are all real firefighters) maintain availability for the charities year after year, and we can honestly say we have a strong and mutually respectful relationship.