Latest News

Keep up with what's going on at hagley

Zoey Harris – Reaching New Heights…Literally

June 19, 2018
By Rowan Millburn

Meet a driven student who is making a name for herself in Fire Brigade circles and breaking down the gender barriers as a role model for girls both at Hagley and beyond…

Zoey came to Hagley at the beginning of 2017 from Avonside Girls. She moved for a change of scenery and thought she might suit a co-education school a little more…(she does!)

Not only is she a full time student but she is also a volunteer fire fighter for the Lyttelton Fire Brigade. I was interested in how this all came about for Zoey. Basically, one of her friends was the only female in the brigade, so when Zoey showed a bit of interest, and with the Port Hills fire fresh in her mind, her friend was quick to encourage her along and she was quick to accept.

Zoey’s first impression of the Lyttelton Fire Brigade was that it was all really exciting. The first training was around fighting fire on boats and it blew her mind. She is quick to point out also, that a lot of the time it is not that exciting but more like a hard grind.

So what does it involve? Zoey attends Hagley Monday to Friday so the responsibilities of fighting fires during the week go to the males that live and work in the Lyttelton area. At the weekends, she will be rostered on every second week and needs to be in Lyttelton to respond to the siren.

On recounting her first call out, Zoey shared that she was kept away from the scene of a motor vehicle accident and later found out that it was a fatality. Her first fire had a happier ending. It involved a fire in the kitchen at the Naval Club. Zoey’s job was to ensure the water got from the hydrant to the pump, so again she was mostly there as an observer.

Zoey describes herself as a person that when she enjoys something she commits herself fully. Evidence of this was when she signed up to complete the annual Sky Tower Stair Challenge. This event sees hundreds of fire fighters across the country come to Auckland in support of the Leukemia and Blood Cancer NZ Foundation. It involves climbing 1103 stairs, over 51 floors, whilst carrying 25kg (half of Zoey’s body weight). She trained by walking up lots and lots of stairs. Zoey found that the physical preparation seemed to be fine but the real test was the mental challenge. That was the area Zoey didn’t feel as well prepared as she would like. Zoey completed the challenge in 36 minutes and has her sights set on breaking 30 minutes next year. To put this achievement in perspective, the fastest female was 13 minutes, and the slowest took over an hour, so in her first event I think Zoey should be pretty happy with that.

What does the future hold for Zoey? Well, she isn’t convinced she will be a firefighter full time. She would rather wait and see how that all pans out. She is now thinking about being a paramedic, which is a change from her original plan of nursing.

What I do know is that if she sets her mind to it, it will happen and she will be excellent at it.

Zoey’s advice for new students is basically to realise sooner rather than later that no one is looking at you or what you are wearing. No one really cares what you look like!

If you want to read more about Zoey, she was featured in an article on Stuff last month. Read the full article here!

Thanks Zoey, it was nice to meet such a talented and enthusiastic young lady.

Other Posts