Coastguard Whangaruru volunteer Alex Wakefield is presented with the Coastguard Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year Award Coastguard Whangaruru volunteer Alex Wakefield is presented with the Coastguard Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year Award CREDIT: Coastguard NZ

Northland Local Honoured In National Coastguard Volunteer Awards

Monday 24 September 2012, 12:04PM
By Mango Communications


Coastguard Whangaruru volunteer, Alex Wakefield was acknowledged at the National Coastguard Gala Awards Evening held in Rotorua on Saturday night, where he was awarded Coastguard Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year for 2012.

Alex 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.

In nominating Mr Wakefield for this award his peers cited not just his enviable technical skill but just as importantly his mana as a leader. Past President of Coastguard Whangaruru, Alex currently holds the role of Training Officer and Master of the rescue vessel ‘RV Tangaroa’.

Patrick Holmes, Coastguard CEO, says, “Whangaruru is a small close-knit unit which continues to punch above its weight when it comes to striving for excellence and producing community role models like Alex Wakefield who is a credit both to Coastguard and his local community.”

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:

Coastguard South Taranaki, Rescue of the Year
The team cited this as the most challenging rescue 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.

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 Co 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,, 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.