Finalists in Volunteer Awards of Excellence 2023 announced!

Following an extensive nomination and judging process, we're delighted to announce the finalists for our Volunteer Awards of Excellence 2023.

Whether they take to the skies in our aircrafts, are the voice on the radio, coordinate incidents, deliver exceptional training, keep our units running as support crew, carry out a critical leadership role, make an impact in our local communities or give it their all by heading out to sea when often others are heading in, all our finalists deserve to be celebrated.

During 2022/23, more than 2,000 volunteers across 63 units responded to 2,596 incidents, bringing 6,300 people home safely, rescuing 142 and saving the lives of six.

Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year: Recognising an outstanding Coastguard volunteer who is current and active with an Air Patrol Unit.

  • Robert Brown (Auckland Coastguard Air Patrol) 
  • Larry Sutherland (Northland Coastguard Air Patrol)

Community Engagement Unit of the Year: Recognising excellence in the areas of public relations, fundraising or community engagement by a Unit.

  • Coastguard Hawke’s Bay
  • Coastguard Waihi Beach
  • Coastguard Wānaka Lakes 

Communications/ Incident Management Volunteer of the Year: Recognising excellence in the performance of Radio Operators and Volunteers working in Incident Management roles that support Search and Rescue and Coastguard Operations.

  • Susie Buchanan-Welch (Coastguard Tauranga)
  • Barry Dulieu (Coastguard Marlborough)
  • Luke McCarthy (Communications North)

Emerging (Young) Volunteer of the Year: Recognising a newer volunteer under 30, who demonstrates the commitment and dedication required to be an outstanding volunteer, and who has already made a great contribution to their Unit.  

  • Amy Nattrass (Coastguard Rotorua Lakes)
  • Nathalie Le Blanc (Coastguard Whangaruru)
  • Steven Dee (Coastguard Waihi Beach) 

Outstanding Leadership Award: Recognising those who make a difference and lead the way. These volunteers are held in high regard for the leadership, initiative, and commitment they bring to their Unit and Coastguard. 

  • Scott Lee (Coastguard Tauranga) 
  • Rob Carpenter (Coastguard Marlborough)
  • Jonathan Walmisley (Coastguard Wānaka Lakes)

Rescue of the Year: The Coastguard Rescue of the Year is a prestigious award that recognises an exceptional rescue crew who has undertaken an outstanding search and rescue or Coastguard operation. 

  • Coastguard Tauranga
  • Coastguard Hawke’s Bay/Coastguard Gisborne
  • Coastguard Waiuku

Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year: Recognising a volunteer whose commitment, contribution and dedication to their role on board a Coastguard Rescue Vessel has been continually demonstrated to their unit. 

  • Emma Psaila (Coastguard Titirangi/Auckland)
  • Simon Marshall (Coastguard Auckland)
  • Ed Bezett (Coastguard Marlborough) 

Unit of the Year: Recognising the unit who in the past year has achieved excellence in all aspects of its management and operational activities. 

  • Coastguard Wānaka Lakes 
  • Coastguard Hawke’s Bay
  • Coastguard Papakura

Unit Support Volunteer of the Year: Recognising excellence in supporting roles such as board or committee roles, shore crew, training officers, secretaries and other non-operational volunteers. 

  • Michelle Smyth (Coastguard Hibiscus Coast)
  • Charlotte Robertson (Coastguard Auckland)
  • Hannah Waterman (Coastguard Taranaki) 

Congratulations to all our finalists. In early October, we'll announce our amazing winners so stay tuned!

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