Coastguard New Zealand welcomes new president and board members

Coastguard is proud to announce the appointment of Bennett Medary to CNZ President, following the organisation’s AGM.

Bennett Medary takes over the reins from Mike Purchase who has been president for the past several years. Coastguard would like to pay tribute to Mike’s service and hard work as CNZ President particularly during the ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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 with Coastguard Auckland, 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. 

"Coastguard New Zealand is a very special organisation, and one that I have a deep connection with. We have a strong people and community focus, supporting our incredibly dedicated volunteers and staff to deliver on the dual missions of being the “boatie’s best mate” and “saving lives at sea.” Bennett said. 

"Like many organisations, the current COVID climate is posing new and ever-changing challenges for our volunteers and staff. Our focus remains on ensuring all units are well supported and can continue to operate to a universally high standard of performance and safety, wherever they are." 

Two new board members were also elected at the AGM – Carolyn Tapley and Dean Lawrence. 

Carolyn has been volunteering for Coastguard Canterbury for nine years and in her time has held a range of positions at a unit, regional and national level. Her most recent feat, becoming a member of Coastguard's Māori and Pacific Advisory ropū, Te Pūhara Mana Iwi which includes board members, staff and volunteers.

In his 33 years volunteering within the Waiuku unit, Dean has made an immense contribution to Coastguard. Having previously sat on the Board for eight years including three as the National President, Dean has a wealth of knowledge on all things Coastguard. In 2015 Dean was elected to the Board of the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) for an initial 4-year term and in 2019 was re-elected for a further 4-year term and appointed Chairman of the Board. 

In addition, Coastguard appointed two new independent members to the board - Commodore Melissa Rosscurrent Deputy Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy and Danny Tuato’o, a practising lawyer and current Director of Maritime New Zealand. 

Coastguard would like to recognise departing board members Evelyn Davis and Ross Lockwood for their service, dedication and work on the board. The full composition of the Coastguard Board for the next year can be found here. 

Coastguard is also delighted to announce the appointment of two new Honorary Life Members – Ian Coard from Coastguard Riverton and John Cowan from Coastguard Auckland for their exceptional service to the organisation. The award of Honorary Life Membership of Coastguard New Zealand is an award that is used sparingly and to date only eight such awards have been given. 

Coastguard congratulates BennettCarolynDeanCommodore Melissa and Danny on their appointments as well as Ian and John for their much-deserved recognition. The organisation also thanks MikeEvelyn and Ross for their tireless work and dedication to Coastguard governance and strategy over their terms. 


For more information, contact: 
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor 
[email protected]

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