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A courageous rescue effort from Coastguard South Taranaki has resulted in the Unit receiving the ‘Rescue of the Year’ Award at the National Coastguard Gala Awards Evening, held in Rotorua on Saturday night.
Coastguard South Taranaki received one of the five annual national awards given to individuals and Coastguard units whose contributions to the organisation were recognised, as the Coastguard community came together to honour the year’s achievements.
On the evening of 22 February volunteers from Coastguard South Taranaki were paged about an incident off the coast.
Three fishermen were stuck in rough conditions with no lights, VHF radio, GPS or indeed lifejackets. Despite 2 – 3 metre swells, the South Taranaki Unit swung into action with an integrated rescue campaign involving both land and sea crew which seasoned team members described as the most challenging rescue operation they had faced in at least 15 years.
Thanks to the expertise and training of Coastguard’s volunteers three fishermen were rescued from the atrocious conditions in a flawless operation. The rescue operation was a true reflection of the high standard of their training and solid teamwork.
Patrick Holmes Coastguard CEO says “Teamwork is what Coastguard is all about and this was demonstrated admirably by the incredible rescue efforts of the Taranaki land and sea crew in what must have been an incredibly challenging situation. It is particularly impressive to see two Taranaki Units go home with national awards.”
Coastguard South Taranaki’s award announcement came hot on the heels of neighboring Coastguard Taranaki volunteer, Nigel Hayton taking the award for TelstraClear Coastguard Operational Volunteer of the Year.
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.
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.
Nigel Hayton, Operational Volunteer of the Year
Coastguard Taranaki’s Nigel Hayton has been described as the backbone of this tight knit crew. During his impressive 14 year tenure as a Coastguard volunteer, Nigel has been involved in almost every support role and never hesitates to roll up his sleeves if there is a job that needs doing. His current roles include: Unit Training Officer, Unit Safety Officer, Unit Callout Controller, Port Company Liaison, Replacement Vessel Sub Committee and Unit OPSCOM Appointee.
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 and 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, email@example.com, 09 354 1371 or 0274 996 277
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.