Coastguard volunteers honoured for contributions to search and rescue

Coastguard at 2022 NZSAR Awards - all photos courtesy of Mark Coote.

Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui volunteers as well as Coastguard Nelson’s Rosie Musters were among those recognised last night for their contributions to search and rescue, receiving special accolades from the Hon Kiri Allan, Associate Minister for Transport at the 2022 NZSAR Awards.

Coastguard New Zealand Tautiaki Moana Aotearoa at the 2022 NZSAR Awards:

Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui - Certificate of Achievement – Operational Activity 

Hon Kiri Allan and Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui President Andrew Gibson. 

Volunteers from Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui (Andrew Gibson, Fred Crawford, Michael Flooks, Dale Scholson, Kenneth Bush and Dan Steinemann), alongside Pauanui Surf Life Saving Club, Paid Lifeguard Service – Tairua, Paid Lifeguard Service – Pauanui, Pauanui / Tairua SAR Squad and Waikato District Police were recognised for the rescue of three adults and two children from the Tairua Harbour bar in January last year. 

Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui

On 5 January 2022, a boat carrying five people overturned on the dangerous Tairua Harbour bar. The Pauanui Surf Life Saving Club responded quickly, dispatching lifeguards in an inflatable rescue boat, deploying lifeguards and closing the beach to the public, alerting the police and search and rescue squad coordinator. Two children were recovered easily, but three people were trapped under the boat.

Coastguard volunteers aboard Pauanui Rescue arrived on the scene and worked with the lifeguards to right the overturned boat and access the trapped adults. Rescuers on the beach worked to resuscitate the trapped individuals, and three rescue helicopters were called to transport the victims to the hospital. Unfortunately, one adult died. The rescue attracted hundreds of onlookers, and responders had to manage the crowd to allow the helicopters to land. 

Hon Kiri Allan and Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui President Andrew Gibson alongside Pauanui Surf Life Saving Club, Paid Lifeguard Service – Tairua, Paid Lifeguard Service – Pauanui and Pauanui / Tairua SAR Squad.

Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui President Andrew Gibson: “The incident posed many challenges for the crew on the day - the low tide, a sand bar blocking our launching area, the shallow area the overturned vessel was located, as well as debris in the water that could have easily disabled our jet unit,” he said. 

“All challenges were overcome by the crew who worked in conjunction with other first responders to achieve the mission in extremely stressful circumstances. I am very proud of the Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui crew putting all their training into practice and we are very honoured to have received this award.” 

Rosie Musters, Coastguard Nelson - Certificate of Achievement – Support Activity 

Hon Kiri Allan and Coastguard Nelson's Rosie Musters.

Coastguard Nelson’s Rosie Musters was recognised for her long service and commitment to search and rescue, not only in the Tasman region, but across New Zealand. 

Rosie Musters has been a valued Coastguard volunteer for over 20 years, initially setting up and running the Coastguard Air Patrol service and later transitioning to volunteering on rescue vessels. She is an experienced sailor and serves as head of Coastguard Nelson's training arm, training and assessing volunteers in her unit and across the district. Rosie also provides training to the public through Coastguard's Boating Education arm and is an invaluable incident manager.

She is well-regarded for her efforts in recruiting, training, and mentoring women as volunteers and her recent contribution to upskilling Coastguard Nelson members in the operation of their new rescue vessel. Rosie was also given the top international award for an individual in Search and Rescue at last year’s International Rescue Federation (IMRF) Awards, underpinning her incredible service to her community and all water-users. 

"I've had a range of responsibilities during my 23 years with Coastguard, but the most important one has been leading the training programme. I'm happiest when I'm enabling and encouraging others, so being acknowledged for doing what I love is a great honour. I'm so proud of what we've achieved together,” Rosie said. 

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie congratulated all recipients, noting how many of our frontline search and rescue are volunteers, giving up their own time when others are in need. 

“Coastguard Tairua-Pauanui had a particularly busy summer last year responding to bar-related incidents, with this example perfectly highlighting their dedication, sacrifice and skill to do their part to save lives. I’m extremely proud of Andrew and his crew for their actions that day and they are fully deserving of this recognition,” he said. 

“Rosie is one of our unsung heroes that works tirelessly behind the scenes to the betterment of her unit, community and New Zealand as a whole. From her incident management prowess to passing on her invaluable skills to the next generation, we are incredibly fortunate to have Rosie and are delighted that she’s been honoured in this significant way,” he said. 

Held at Government House in Wellington, the NZSAR Awards are presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievements within New Zealand’s search and rescue region from the past year, which covers 30 million square kilometres. 

In the year ending 30 June 2022, New Zealand’s search and rescue sector responded to 2,871 incidents, resulting in 150 lives saved, 715 people rescued and 799 people assisted. There are over 11,225 people involved in search and rescue in New Zealand, with over 90 percent being volunteers. 

All recipients at 2022 NZSAR Awards. 

Well done to all our award winners, thank you for bringing your all to both Coastguard and the wider SAR sector! 

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