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Statement of Service Performance

The difference we've made this year

Our highest priority

Investing in our people

Project Horizon

Since the implementation of Project Horizon on July 1 2020, which saw the merging of Coastguard’s four regions and the national body, Coastguard has embraced a historic amount of change. 

By simplifying the organisation’s structure, barriers to effective decision-making and delivery that had previously existed have been removed, enabling Coastguard to provide better support and services to units, volunteers and staff across Aotearoa.

Becoming a unified, strong and better resourced organisation has also enabled us to put a strategy and projects in place to ensure our highest priority, our volunteers, continue to want to volunteer their time with Coastguard and new volunteers are attracted to the organisation.

Volunteer Training Project

One of the major outputs of Project Horizon has been the Volunteer Training Project. The Volunteer Study, undertaken in 2018, showed that training is a significant frustration for volunteers and one of the leading causes of volunteers leaving Coastguard.

Over the last 12 months significant work has gone into this project, with a new streamlined syllabus for Coastguard Rescue Vessel training about to be delivered alongside a modern online Learning Management System that will enable our volunteers to self-manage their learning with greater flexibility. The new syllabus will also make the most of an individual’s prior skills and experience and provide a path to commercial qualification.

Inaugural Skipper School

The first Coastguard Skipper School was piloted in June in response to feedback that more senior volunteers would step up to gain their Master Qualification if they had increased support around leadership, risk assessment and decision-making.

The two-and-a-half-day programme facilitated great discussions amongst the attendees, provided an opportunity for the group to learn from and ask questions of an already qualified Master, and to have some on-water time to put their learnings into practice.

With training boats now in Auckland and Tauranga and increased funding to enable training, Skipper Schools are set to become a regular fixture on the Coastguard training calendar.

Trainee to Operational Courses (TOPs)

Coastguard’s TOPs courses take rescue vessel crew who are at a trainee level and put them through a highly focused week designed to progress their training towards Operational Crew.

This year we have doubled the number of courses delivered and for the first time held courses in locations outside of Auckland to enable more volunteers to fast track their training.

Encouraging the next generation

Volunteering in any capacity is a big commitment and it can be a considerable ask for young people to sacrifice their time and give back to their community. However, Coastguard is extremely lucky to have a great group of selfless and driven young people involved in units around the country, like Kip Stephenson, an Operational wet crew member at Coastguard Nelson.

Kip began his volunteering journey at 19, after a colleague, who also happened to be a Coastguard Nelson crewmember, encouraged him to get involved. Kip experienced first hand the reward that comes from being there for boaties and water-users in their time of need.

“The most satisfying thing about volunteering for Coastguard is when everything goes right, when you can bring someone home or fix someone’s problem. It’s all about getting people home safely.”

At 24 years of age, Kip is the youngest volunteer at Coastguard Nelson, but he’s never let the age gap between himself and fellow volunteers stand in his way.

“I know that young people can be apprehensive about going into a Coastguard unit and getting started, but you learn a lot and get to do some really cool things. Coastguard is for everyone and if you really want to get into it, go and do it.”



Allan’s other recent accolades, a 2020 New Zealand Search and Rescue Certificate of Achievement in Support Activity and Coastguard New Zealand’s Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019, are both testament to his passion for making his community a better place.

Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year nomination – Allan Turia

Each year the Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year Award recognises Kiwis who have selflessly worked to make their community a better place. Coastguard Turangi volunteer of 17 years Allan Turia was one of the incredible Kiwis nominated for this award in 2021. On top of saving stricken boaties and water-users in the Turangi community, Allan continuously works hard to create opportunities for people to get involved with Coastguard and ensures that all volunteers have equal opportunities to build on their skills through training and mentoring.

As a highly skilled Skipper, Allan frequently shares his knowledge with his fellow volunteers and supports them through their training. Allan’s focus on inclusion has seen Coastguard Turangi’s role stretch far beyond maritime assistance and search and rescue. He has built strong working relationships with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board, to ensure that protected areas such as Lake Taupo and nearby Motutaiko Island are looked after by the three groups. 



NZSAR Awards

A successful 14.5 hour rescue operation that brought six people home safely saw Coastguard Nelson awarded with a Certificate of Achievement at the New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) Awards in May.

Coastguard Nelson, alongside Nelson Police SAR Squad, Tasman District Harbourmaster and the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), were recognised for the rescue of the SV Ocean Gem near Rangitoto ki te Tonga - D’Urville Island on 18-19 March 2020. The full-scale search and rescue operation that brought the Ocean Gem to safety pushed Coastguard Nelson to its limits. 

"It was an amazing sight to see them when we were rolling round in 5m seas. I’m forever indebted to them."
David Hows, Skipper of the Ocean Gem

Awards of Excellence

Thelma Wilson, Coastguard Kawau

Century Yuasa Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year and Hutchwilco Coastguard Volunteer of the Year

Known as the ‘backbone of the unit,’ over the last 10 years Thelma has given many hours of her time and energy to running Coastguard Kawau behind the scenes to ensure the unit’s  volunteers can be there for boaties in their time of need. Thelma has attended the most incidents out of any other volunteer in her unit over the past year and has spent a total of 249 hours on board as Skipper and an additional 89 hours on the water training.

Thelma’s passion for caring for her community has been a driving force behind her work to ensure Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) and health and safety procedures are followed and volunteers across the unit’s three crews are competent, confident and rescue-ready. Thelma is a Skipper, Unit Safety Officer and a MOSS champion, Coastguard Instructor, Committee Member and a highly skilled and respected Coastguard volunteer.

Coastguard Taranaki

Coastguard Unit of the Year

Coastguard Taranaki runs like a well-oiled machine. All aspects of the unit’s operations, from training and volunteer recruitment to financial management, community engagement and incident response, are all completed to a high degree that when combined, ensure the unit is a reliable service within the community. Coastguard Taranaki is made up of 43 volunteers who all bring their own knowledge and expertise to the unit, contributing greatly to the unit culture. The Taranaki unit’s management committee works tirelessly to strengthen the reputation of the unit within the local community, particularly with boaties and local marine search and rescue agencies. Teamwork is at the fore within the Taranaki unit with volunteers regularly working together to achieve the best results for all.

Coastguard Nelson

Coastguard Rescue of the Year

This prestigious accolade was awarded to Coastguard Nelson for the rescue of the stricken yacht Ocean Gem. When the mayday call was first received by RCCNZ at 9pm, the 12-tonne sailing yacht, en route to Picton from Hobart, had lost its steering and was drifting helplessly in the Cook Strait Channel in winds gusting between 20 and 25 knots. Without intervention from rescue agencies, the vessel would eventually drift into rocks, putting the yacht and its crew in harm’s way. At 4am the Coastguard crew set out on a lengthy journey into the night to reach the stricken vessel. The yacht had drifted so far out that Coastguard Nelson had to obtain a special exemption from Maritime New Zealand to travel outside their area of operation. After a long journey Coastguard finally rendezvoused with Ocean Gem where all crew were found safe and accounted for. They then started the arduous 52 nautical mile tow back to base. It was off the back of winning this award that Coastguard Nelson was nominated for an NZSAR award.

Coastguard Whitianga

Coastguard Community Relations Activity of the Year

During the Tuia 250 Encounters voyage, Coastguard Whitianga provided exemplary support to the flotilla of vessels when the historic fleet arrived in the unit’s area of operation.

During the event the unit’s role was to ensure the safety of participants and spectators. In addition to on-water patrol activities, the Whitianga unit responded to a number of calls whilst supporting this event, including performing a medical evacuation from HMS Endeavour, urgently assisting a vessel that capsized in the path of one of the tall ships and assisting two of the flotilla waka due to deteriorating weather conditions.

Coastguard Whitianga’s event support helped raise the profile of Coastguard as a marine safety service and highlighted the collaborative relationships the unit holds with partners, including Maritime Police, the local Harbourmaster and Maritime New Zealand.

Josh Haslemore and Peter Chapman

Coastguard Unit Support Volunteers of the Year

Josh Haslemore has a fervent desire to make his unit as strong  as it can be. Josh has worked tirelessly over the past two years to ensure Coastguard Auckland Air Patrol runs efficiently by updating the unit’s Standard Operating Procedures, designing an operational risk matrix and updating training modules.

Tapping into his industry experience, Josh has used his knowledge of risk analysis, safety and culture to identify gaps  within the unit and rectify them to ensure the Auckland Air Patrol is a safe and compliant unit across all of its operations.

Peter Chapman has been instrumental in ensuring all aspects of Coastguard Taranaki’s operations are aligned in achieving the goals set in the unit’s annual operational and training plans.

Peter is a team player who readily helps with the development of other volunteers, far exceeding his required duties. Peter makes himself available at short notice to support others at any and every level within the unit’s operation and is a well-respected member of his unit. 

Volunteer Long Service Awards

25 years

John Cowan
Jeff Cramp
Antony Baker
Anita Fraser
Gary Darnell
Ross Patterson
Kevin McKenna
Peter Garnett
Tony Lister
Maurice Williams
Calvern Sing
Allan Wetherall
Graham Weakley
David Smith
Graeme Clark
David Hetherington

30 years

Gary van der Werff
Allan Benson
Heather McDonald

40 years

Adam Wickes
Les Franks

50 years

Paul Newman
Geoffrey Layton
Michael Wilson

Life Members

Kevin O’Sullivan QSM
Brooke Archbold
Allan Daines
Harold Mason
Michael Grace
Alan Haddock QSO

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