Coastguard Taranaki volunteer Nigel Hayton is presented with the TelstraClear Coastguard Operational Volunteer of the Year Award Coastguard Taranaki volunteer Nigel Hayton is presented with the TelstraClear Coastguard Operational Volunteer of the Year Award CREDIT: Coastguard NZ

Taranaki Local Scoops Coastguard's Operational Volunteer of the Year Award

Monday 24 September 2012, 11:48AM
By Mango Communications



New Plymouth based Coastguard Taranaki volunteer, Nigel Hayton has been named as the Telstraclear Coastguard Operational Volunteer of the Year at the National Coastguard Gala Awards Evening, held in Rotorua on Saturday night.

Nigel received one of the five annual national awards given to individuals and Coastguard units whose contributions to the organisation were recognised at the conference, as the Coastguard community came together to honour the year’s achievements.

In nominating Mr Hayton for the award, his Coastguard Taranaki peers cited his numerous roles within the unit including: Unit Training Officer, Unit Safety Officer, Unit Callout Controller, Port Company Liaison, Replacement Vessel Sub Committee and Unit OPSCOM Appointee. He has played an active role in the Coastguard Taranaki team for over 14 years.

Patrick Holmes Coastguard CEO says “Volunteers like Nigel are the backbone of our operation – our water based crews simply couldn’t do their jobs without people like him. It is particularly impressive to see two Taranaki crews go home with significant national awards.”

Mr Hayton’s award announcement came hot on the heels of neighboring Unit, Coastguard South Taranaki taking the award for Coastguard Rescue of the Year.

The award is newly sponsored by TelstraClear and James Smith, Group Manager – Channels at TelstraClear says it was an easy decision for the telecommunications company to sponsor this award. 

“This award is very much around leadership and communication which are great fits with the ethos of TelstraClear.  We are proud to be associated with Coastguard and the winner of this award”.

Coastguard New Zealand President, Colin Small says, ”This year’s award winners have all shown outstanding service to Coastguard and their local boating communities, and our sincere thanks go out to those volunteers for their commitment to saving lives at sea.”

Coastguard is New Zealand’s primary provider of marine search and rescue services.  It is made up of highly-trained volunteers who put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis to ensure the safety of people at sea. This year Coastguard’s 2,398 brave volunteers brought 6,634 Kiwis safely back to land and devoted over 350,000 hours to keeping New Zealander’s safe on the water.

There are five categories for the awards –

Mitre 10 Coastguard Volunteer of the Year                                       Tony Lister Coastguard South Canterbury
Coastguard Rescue of the Year                                                          Coastguard South Taranaki
TelstraClear Coastguard Operational Volunteer of the Year         Nigel Hayton Coastguard Taranaki
Coastguard Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year                                      Andrew McGregor Coastguard Canterbury
Coastguard Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year                          Alex Wakefield Coastguard Whangaruru

The individual award recipients each receive a prize that assists in furthering their education, and professional development, within Coastguard.

Other winners:

Alex Wakefield, Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year
Alex’s Coastguard Whangaruru peers cited not just his enviable technical skills in their nomination but also the impressive mana attributed to this 11 year veteran Coastguard volunteer. Alex’s inclusive leadership style has garnered respect from his fellow Coastguard volunteers and the Northland community at large.

Coastguard South Taranaki, Rescue of the Year
The team cited this as the most challenging operation any of them had ever been involved in. Three fishermen are thankful Coastguard volunteers train to be the best they can be, when they were rescued in February this year from 2 – 3 metre swells which involved a seamless integrated rescue operation bringing into play all elements of their training and involved both land and sea crews.

Andrew McGregor, Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year
Andrew hails from Coastguard Canterbury where he has been involved as a volunteer for six years. He currently holds positions of Air Observer, Ground Controller, Incident Management Team Air Operations, and Board Member. He is being credited for raising morale within his unit and coming up with innovative ways to combat funding challenges in a touch economic climate.
He has also garnered respect from his colleagues for his vast technical knowledge and leadership skills which have seen him inspire many fledgling volunteers.

Tony Lister, Volunteer of the Year
Tony Lister has been involved with Coastguard South Canterbury for over 14 years and it will come as no surprise to his local Coastguard colleagues that he has been acknowledged as Coastguard Volunteer of the Year.
He has become the respected face of Coastguard in the Southern Region working tirelessly behind the scenes to improve and maintain working relationships with local fishermen and other community stakeholders. Since 2000 he has also held the role of Safety Officer/Training Officer which has made him a familiar face at both public and crew training sessions. The dedication of this respected volunteer, both on and off the water has made him a most deserving recipient of the award.


For more information or images please contact:
Anna-Louise Hoffmann, Mango Communications,, 09 354 1371 or 0274 996 277

About Coastguard
Coastguard is the charity that provides New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service.  The organisation operates from a network of four regions and 71 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand.  Coastguard New Zealand is a volunteer organisation with a charitable status.  It has more than 18,000 supporter members and 2,398 active Professional Volunteers who provide over 350,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. Coastguard performs over 3,000 rescues each year assisting almost 7,000 New Zealanders. There are currently 72 dedicated rescue vessels in Coastguard New Zealand’s fleet, 10 air patrol units and one dedicated communications unit.  All crew members on board Coastguard vessels and air patrol craft are trained search and rescue personnel working to enhance the safety of all New Zealanders when they participate in boating and water activities.