National Board

Coastguard New Zealand Board

The Coastguard New Zealand Board governs the strategic direction of our national office. 

The composition of the Coastguard New Zealand Board is:

  • Led by a President who is nominated and elected by units
  • 4 Elected Members who are also nominated and elected by units
  • 4 Appointed Members who are appointed by the Board Appointments Panel


Bennett Medary

Bennett has been volunteering for Coastguard Auckland for seven years and has held a range of different operational and governance positions at a unit, regional and national level. A current CNZ board member since 2020, Bennett was also a Coastguard Northern Region Board Member & Chair of the Governance Committee between 2016 and 2019. An active volunteer, Bennett has acted as a Lead Radio Operator, is a Master of Lion Foundation Rescue & Trillian Trust Rescue, and is also a Coastguard Instructor and Regional Instructor/Assessor.

Bennett is a professional director and advisor specialising in governance, strategy, transformation / innovation and executive mentoring. Over a thirty-year career he has worked with many organisations in the public, private, charitable and volunteer sectors. As CNZ President, Bennett is passionate about continuing to build strong relationships throughout the organisation and sectors of society, understanding that units reflect local operating conditions and their volunteers mirror the people in their local community.

Elected Board Members

Carolyn Tapley

Carolyn has been a volunteer with Coastguard Canterbury since 2013 and during her time, she has held various positions at a Unit, regional, and national level. With a background in Finance and Government, she brings great leadership and fundraising capabilities to her work. After the Christchurch earthquakes, she successfully sourced $2.5 million to replace the damaged Coastguard Canterbury building.

As a member of Coastguard's Māori and Pacific Advisory ropū, Te Pūhara Mana Iwi, Carolyn is committed to embracing and promoting cultural diversity and equity within the organisation. She works alongside board members, staff, and volunteers to incorporate cultural elements into both behaviours and the Coastguard brand. She is passionate about our Coastguard volunteers and staff and acknowledges that each Coastguard Unit is unique, reflecting the contrast in their geographics and the communities they serve. For the past 30 years, she has worked in the volunteer and charitable sectors both nationally and internationally.

Jerry Bardon

Jerry has been a volunteer with Coastguard Kapiti Coast for the past seven years, serving across numerous roles including President for three years, acting Treasurer and Unit Safety Officer. He is currently working towards his Coastguard Instructor and Master qualifications. Across large organisations in both the UK and New Zealand, Jerry has strong demonstrated experience in IT, organisational design and organisational resilience.

Andrew Murray

Andrew has been a volunteer for six years, firstly with Coastguard Canterbury and now with Coastguard Nelson. Over this time, Andrew has served numerous roles both at local Unit level (Unit Vice President. CRV Senior Crew & CI) as well as nationally as Director (Chair) of Coastguard Boating Education. Andrew is currently a director, chair or trustee of several companies and trusts including Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Nutrient Rescue, Mountain Valley Honey, Coastguard Boating Education and is a Commissioner for the Minister of Education.​

Appointed Board Members

Commodore Melissa Ross RNZN

Commodore Melissa Ross joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in February 1993 as a Marine Engineering Officer, serving in HMNZ Ships Manawanui, Southland, Waikato, Wellington, Te Kaha and the Logistics Ship, Canterbury. Commodore Ross has held a wealth of positions throughout her years in the Navy, ranging from Private Secretary to the Minister of Defence, to the role of Navy Engineering subject matter expert within the Logistics Change Project. Most recently however, Commodore Ross took up her current role as the Deputy Chief of Navy in December 2019. Commodore Ross lives with her husband and two sons in Wellington and enjoys watching her sons play soccer, basketball and touch rugby.

Danny Tuato'o

With his own first-hand experience as a volunteer, Danny understands the challenges faced by volunteer organisations in Aotearoa when tasked to do more with less resources. Until February 2021, Danny had been the Chair of Water Safety New Zealand for five years and has recently been appointed to the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board. Danny has a genuine interest in frontline rescue services and brings a strong skill set in legal expertise, governance experience and diversity of thought to the Board. Danny understands the cultural dynamic of Te Ao Māori and Crown/Māori relations and brings cultural competence to the Board. 

Liz Urquhart

Liz is currently GM of a portfolio of growth products at Spark, having spent two prior years as the organisation’s GM Group Strategy. Liz has experience in a wide variety of organisations from new start-ups (Liz was the founder and owner of a premium honey business) through to leading strategy and significant transformational change in large organisations. Liz brings extensive experience in collaborating with Boards and other key stakeholders – particularly in relation to the development and implementation of strategic plans. Liz has a deep understanding of complex stakeholder relations having worked as an economic advisor and consultant to governments and other parties in New Zealand and internationally. Liz is mum to Conor (8) and lives in Auckland.

Susan Doughty

Susan is a seasoned director, executive, entrepreneur, and consultant with over 30 years of experience solving commercial business issues and managing people challenges in complex environments. Susan is a former Partner at EY, Director of Talent & Engagement at Fonterra, and most recently Head of Reward & Insights for Zespri.  Susan is deeply committed to improving outcomes for women and communities and has used her influence and skills to raise awareness of pay equity and diversity issues promoting positive change within Aotearoa, New Zealand. Susan’s governance portfolio includes Chair - Diversity Works New Zealand, Trustee - Coastguard New Zealand, Director - Caloda Ltd, and Trustee - Agri-Women’s Development Trust. 

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Thanks to our life-saving partners:
  • Auckland Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Hutchwilco
  • Marine Deals
  • Tower
  • Kordia
  • Hyundai
  • Line7
  • Century Batteries
  • Half Moon Bay
  • NZCT
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity