Coastguard North Kaipara recognise 30 years of community service

Tinopai, 22 January 2024 - Coastguard North Kaipara are celebrating 30 years of dedicated volunteer service on one of the world’s largest harbours.

To celebrate this significant milestone, Coastguard North Kaipara will host an Open Day on January 28. The event offers a wonderful opportunity for everyone to meet the team, explore Tinopai Rescue, and set off on a nostalgic journey through the Unit's history with old photos.

The Old4New team will also be onsite, allowing people to trade in their old, damaged, or ill-fitting lifejackets for new Hutchwilco ones at a discounted rate. A variety of discounted lifejackets suitable for boating, watersports, kayaking, and sailing, in sizes ranging from infants to adults, will be available at the Open Day.

Additionally, people are encouraged to bring cash for a raffle featuring a Lowrance Fish Finder generously donated by Worx4U Limited. The Open Day will also showcase one of Coastguard New Zealand’s Summer Lottery prize boats, and lottery tickets will be available for purchase to support the Unit.

Open Day details:

Sunday, 28 January 2024 - 11am - 2pm
Tinopai Emergency Base, 1 Komiti Road, Tinopai 0593.

A history of saving lives

In 1993, the Unit was originally incorporated as North Kaipara Volunteer Coastguard Air Sea Rescue by the Otamatea Aero Club after the Northland Police Commander stressed the need for an air patrol.

A small group of volunteers lent money to the society to set up the organisation. Among these volunteers was the legendary Gordon Murray, who was also instrumental in setting up the Aero Club and the fire brigade (and several other organisations!).

A committee was formed with representatives from the Aero Club and boating clubs, with Mike Andrews as the long-time communications officer. Although 40km from Tinopai, the room is still used because of its central position.

At that time, privately-owned boats and 'vessels of opportunity' were used in emergencies and for many years the Unit included the entire Te Kopuru Fire Brigade. Their two rigid inflatable boats, purchased by the community, were ideal for inshore work as well as across the surf on the west coast beaches. A memorandum of understanding allowed firefighters to be Coastguard while they were on the water!

Local radio operators, of whom Dorothy Quaife was probably the best known, dealt with incidents and trip reports.

Over time, the air patrol was phased out and in 2016, the Unit received Manaia Rescue which allowed the crew to complete training. This vessel was replaced five years later by the larger Tinopai Rescue, one of twenty-two America’s Cup chase boats used in the 2021 regatta. Today, the Unit shares a substantial building with Fire and Emergency, opened in 2018 at the Tinopai Marina.

Unit president Peter Flood says the Unit is very proud to serve the local community who have been so supportive over the years.

“Volunteers have saved many lives – it’s a challenging stretch of water where conditions can quickly change, highlighting how highly skilled our volunteers are,” he said.

“With the arrival of Tinopai Rescue in 2021, we have been able to future-proof the Unit – by responding to incidents faster and having a very capable vessel for training".

Peter also noted the dedication of volunteers like Allan Crabb who has been with the Unit since the beginning.

“Without Allan, and others like him, Coastguard North Kaipara wouldn’t be here.”

Coastguard New Zealand congratulates everyone at Coastguard North Kaipara on this special milestone!


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