Northland Coastguard Air Patrol volunteer receives national award  

Coastguard New Zealand is delighted to announce Larry Sutherland, from Northland Coastguard Air Patrol (NCAP) as our Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year for 2023. This week, we are announcing all 10 of our Awards of Excellence winners. 

Larry has shown unwavering loyalty to Northland Coastguard Air Patrol for over two decades. Initially joining the local Aero Club to study for his pilot's license, Larry maintained his allegiance to Coastguard when the two organisations split. As an experienced pilot, he earned his pilot's license, became a NCAP Duty Pilot, and is often among the first to respond to calls, showcasing his dedication to the cause. 

Larry not only excels as a pilot but also takes on the role of a mentor, teaching others and ensuring a focus on safety from debrief to completion. He played a crucial role in high-profile incidents, including the Whakaari/White Island disaster, where he undertook a challenging search mission for the final two missing individuals. 

Larry's longevity at Northland Coastguard Air Patrol is marked by his adaptability to technological advancements and his commitment to passing on his knowledge. Despite recent personal challenges, Larry continues to serve as the President of Northland Coastguard Air Patrol, maintaining his integrity, enthusiasm, and dedication to saving lives at sea. 

Larry Sutherland: “It's the bunch of enthusiastic volunteers who deserve to be nominated for an award more than I, because we are a team. I just want to give something back to my community, and the Air Patrol was by far the best option for me.” 

"I think when you're doing a job like this, you don't even realise yourself that you're getting to do something extraordinary and you're only an ordinary person. That's what Coastguard allows everyone to do."

Coastguard Northland Air Patrol Secretary Bronny Colquhoun: "He doesn't like being in the limelight, he thinks he's just doing what everyone would do but actually he does well above that. He's an amazing, kind and lovely person who works super hard in the background so it's about time someone gave him a big pat on the back."

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie: “As our eyes in the sky, Air Patrol volunteers like Larry are a critical part of our mission of saving lives at sea. Larry is well-known for his safe aviation practices and the importance of looking after his crew so it’s fantastic to able to honour him for his incredible service to Coastguard.” 

Northland Coastguard Air Patrol, based in Kerikeri, is one of two Coastguard Units with fixed-wing aircraft. Over the 2022/2023 year, volunteers contributed 2,812 hours to Coastguard, responding to numerous calls for help and supporting our on-water assets to bring people home safely.

Coastguard New Zealand also congratulates Robert Brown (Auckland Coastguard Air Patrol) as a finalist in this category for his achievements. 


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