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Heroic community workers involved in the Kaikoura earthquake and Port Hills fire disasters will be special guests when the Vodafone Warriors salute everyday heroes at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday.

The club is dedicating game day to vital community services when it hosts the Parramatta Eels in Sunday’s sixth-round NRL fixture.

The New Zealand Police, New Zealand Fire Service, St John New Zealand, Surf Life Saving New Zealand and the New Zealand Blood Service will all have a presence on Sunday.

Vodafone Warriors members and fans are being encouraged to turn up in numbers to acknowledge and thank the services for their efforts.

By way of appreciation the Vodafone Warriors are offering a free GA ticket to any emergency service* volunteer or staff member to come along to soak up the action.

Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle also announced today that a group of 20 South Island emergency services workers will be VIPs.

“This has been made possible through fantastic support from Air New Zealand with flights, SKYCITY with accommodation and Sir Peter Leitch with his unique match day experience,” he said.

“So many people in the South Island were affected by the earthquake and fires recently and we just wanted to reach out to give some of them a special weekend.

“We’re honouring our everyday heroes on Sunday so it means a lot to us to be able to involve people who did so much to help in those times of need in the South Island.

“It has also been a tough time for services around Auckland with the flooding emergencies we’ve had recently and again this week highlighting the fact we all have so much to thank our everyday heroes for.”

A group of 16 South Island community services personnel will be flown from Christchurch to Auckland by Air New Zealand on Saturday, stay the night at SKYCITY and be special guests of the Sir Peter Leitch Club in the Stacey Jones Lounge on Sunday.

Air New Zealand will fly another four people out of Blenheim on Sunday to enjoy the day in the Sir Peter Leitch Club when the Vodafone Warriors have their NRL, Intrust Super Premiership and NYC teams on show.

The VIP group includes bulldozer drivers Nik Martin and John Harris, who both worked tirelessly during the Port Hills fires.

Joining them for the trip will be firefighters from Kaikoura, Culverden and Ward who were involved in rescue efforts after the earthquakes in the area.

Martin’s deeds featured in a Newshub story on Three and on social media:


A story is told that Martin’s boss at CCL Construction thinks so much of him that he bought him a new ute to drive – but Martin gave it away to one of his co-workers because he reckoned it was too good for him.

Harris, who also works for CCL Construction, was driving the bulldozer before Martin took over from him during the fires. He then jumped into a transporter and moved heavy machinery to the fire under police escort. He was being briefed by the police on how they would escort him under lights and siren when he said: “That’s fine, just don’t stop in front of me because I won’t be able to stop and will run right up your arse.”

Another hero was Southeast Earthworks owner Lachie Wain, who worked alongside Martin’s bulldozer in a 20-tonne digger during the fires. Efforts were made to bring him to Auckland this weekend to thank him for his deeds but he couldn’t make it.

Martin, Harris and Wain will all be attending a League 4 Life luncheon in Christchurch on Friday when Sir Peter Leitch will be MC with Doyle and Vodafone Warriors great Jerome Ropati as guest speakers.

  • The emergency services will feature in various ways on Sunday. There’ll be vehicles on display in the Harvey Norman Community Fun Zone below the giant screen at the northern end of the ground while there’ll also be a relay at halftime in the main game involving teams from the services.
  • Emergency services volunteers and staff are invited to take up the offer of a FREE GA ticket to Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday. 
  • If you qualify, simply show your emergency services ID card or your surf lifesaving competition cap at the time of purchase to receive a complimentary ticket to the game.
  • This can be done at our club offices at Mount Smart Stadium (2 Beasley Ave, Penrose) during business hours this week or on game day via the Ticketek box office at Gate B.
  • Emergency service staff will also receive a 50 per cent discount on any additional GA tickets they wish to purchase for those who attend the game with them.
  • The services being acknowledged on Sunday are the New Zealand Police, New Zealand Fire Service, St John New Zealand, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, New Zealand Blood Service.
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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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