Coastguard Marlborough scoops three Awards of Excellence, including top volunteer accolade

There’s a lot to celebrate at Coastguard Marlborough this week, with two volunteers taking home three individual accolades in our Awards of Excellence 2023. 

We’re delighted to announce Rob Carpenter as our Volunteer of the Year (our Supreme Award), in addition to winning our Outstanding Leadership Award, as well as Barry Dulieu as our Communication/Incident Management Team Volunteer of the Year! 

Rob Carpenter 

Our Volunteer of the Year award commends an individual who has demonstrated the utmost in excellence in their commitment to the work they do in Coastguard. This Supreme Award is evaluated through the judging of the individual volunteer categories that cover each area of expertise.

Rob Carpenter is a dedicated and passionate volunteer, having started his Coastguard journey in 2011. With expertise as a Coastguard ISC Master, VHF Radio Operator, and Instructor, he's instrumental in building community connections. Over his time with Marlborough, Rob has improved relations with local boating clubs, significantly benefiting both parties. 

Under Rob's leadership, the Unit has thrived operationally and financially, raising over $300,000 for a new rescue vessel. He fostered a culture shift, promoting gender and age balance among volunteers.

As President, Rob ensures the committee operates inclusively and efficiently, encouraging open communication. The committee of 11 operates in an inclusive manner with no hierarchy. Teamwork is a strong focus for this Unit, with plenty of encouragement and support of ideas from around the table. Rob's firm, but fair approach has earned him the committee's respect and the other volunteers' admiration. He always has his finger on the pulse and is very action oriented. Be assured, if Rob is doing it, it will be done…and well. 

Rob's commitment extends to project management, exemplified by his role in acquiring a vital 9m vessel for the Unit. He also recognises the importance of engaging volunteers' families through social events, reinforcing a sense of community. Respected in the local community, Rob's leadership has elevated Coastguard Marlborough's standards, making him a silent but impactful achiever. He fully epitomises Coastguard’s values and makes an incredible contribution across the board both locally and nationally. 

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie: “I would like to congratulate Rob for his significant contribution to Coastguard over many years – leading from the front and ensuring Marlborough are set up for a successful future.” 

“People like Rob are our greatest assets, enabling others to shine while also providing exceptional leadership and direction.” 

Barry Dulieu 

Barry, with a background in the New Zealand Navy, is an invaluable member of Coastguard Marlborough. He excels both on vessels and in the control room, particularly with his exceptional communication skills. Barry ensures that Coastguard Marlborough and other supporting agencies are always well-informed about incidents, recognising the critical importance of prompt and accurate communication during emergencies. 

Barry's dedication and calm demeanour make him a reassuring presence for those navigating challenging situations. He is known for his meticulous attention to detail, whether it's overseeing multiple vessels, coordinating crew changes, or arranging food for rescue operations. 

In a recent incident in Queen Charlotte Sound, Barry's quick thinking and organisation skills played a vital role in a successful rescue operation. He demonstrated the importance of double-checking critical information, preventing a potential disaster by correcting the rescue boat's course. 

Beyond his operational roles, Barry maintains a strong connection with the local Iwi, is fluent in Te reo Māori, and serves as a cultural advisor to Coastguard Marlborough. He played a significant role in naming the AC36 America's Cup vessel, Tautiaki o Waitohi, in consultation with local Iwi, reflecting the meaning of "Active Guardians of Picton and its People." 

In difficult situations, such as when retrieving bodies from the water, Barry also provides comfort by conducting blessings in Te reo for the deceased, the crew, and the vessel. 

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie: “Regardless of the scale of an incident, boaties in difficulty and our volunteers on the water require a calm, informative and logical voice on the end of a radio – something that Barry continues to deliver for his community.” 

“I’d also like to acknowledge Barry’s mahi as cultural advisor for his Unit – building relationships and enabling Coastguard to connect better with mana whenua and the communities we reflect.” 

Coastguard New Zealand also congratulates our finalists in these categories: 

  • Outstanding Leadership AwardJonathan Walmisley (Coastguard Wānaka Lakes) and Scott Lee (Coastguard Tauranga). 
  • Communication/Incident Management Team Volunteer of the YearLuke McCarthy (Communications North) and Susie Buchanan-Welch (Coastguard Tauranga). 


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