Coastguard Hibiscus volunteer recongised for recruitment efforts

Coastguard New Zealand is delighted to announce Michelle Smyth, from Coastguard Hibiscus as our Support Volunteer of the Year for 2023. This week, we are announcing all 10 of our Awards of Excellence winners. 

Michelle joined Coastguard Hibiscus in early 2022, and in that time has become a veritable sponge, soaking up all the knowledge she can, retaining it, and developing additional avenues for success. 

Now a Committee Member and Recruitment Officer, Michelle has brought onboard no fewer than 11 new recruits to the Unit. That’s a healthy number, but it means nothing if those recruits aren’t engaged or looked after. 

But that doesn’t happen. Michelle has designed intuitive induction plans for her recruits to assist with the onboarding process and meets with the new recruits weekly to help keep them on track and be there for them should they have any questions. 

Additionally, Michelle will guide her trainees through required theory modules, paperwork and, crucially, ensure that they get valuable boat time. Perhaps this meticulous, assured mentorship occurs because, not too long ago, Michelle was a trainee herself, so she knows what it’s all about - and that’s why she boasts a phenomenal 97 per cent retention record. 

Michelle Smyth: “Hibiscus is a really good Unit. The place is full of learning and encouragement - there’s never any negativity. The people are great and they help me become better - it’s all because I’m surrounded by amazing people.” 

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie: “Coastguard only exists with amazing volunteers like Michelle supporting and encouraging our newest recruits. I’m thrilled that Michelle’s hours of hard work behind the scenes for the betterment of her Unit and community have been recognised with this award.” 

Coastguard New Zealand also congratulates Charlotte Robertson (Coastguard Auckland) and Hannah Waterman (Coastguard Taranaki) as finalists in this category for their achievements. 


For more information, contact:
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor 
[email protected]
+64 21 756 405

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