18 Sep 2020

Rural Dynamo, Merilene Horsford

From Country Life, 4:38 pm on 18 September 2020

It's not surprising it took a few attempts to lock in a time to meet Northland woman Merilene Horsford.

Merilene, who lives in the Maromaku Valley, half an hour north of Whangārei , is a mother of six, a grandmother, a farmer, nurse, music teacher, te reo teacher, producer of Māori medicine, a church volunteer and can often be found working at her marae.

And she's a volunteer firefighter.

"I came across an accident down the road and it was a severe one. There was a fatality and I thought to myself, 'I want to get back into doing something for the community; I guess it's fire fighting'."

Since then five of her children have also volunteered.

Merilene is always on call. She loves it.

"I think it's the unknown because you never know what you are going to get.

"So (in) an MVA (motor vehicle accident), is that one or is that two? Is that a big one or is it just a car in a drain ... has it caught the scrub on fire or what?"

Merilene says she tends to remember the more grizzly callouts.

"It's not nice but it hardens you for life. You just sort of do what has to be done ... support who has to be supported and do your best really."