Tauranga to host special blessing ceremony for two new Lotto-funded rescue boats

New Coastguard Rescue Vessels (CRVs) made possible through unique America’s Cup partnership between Coastguard, Lotto NZ and Emirates Team NZ

This Saturday, Coastguard New Zealand will welcome two new special, high-tech new rescue boats to be based in Auckland and Tauranga.

Named Tirikawa and Ihenga, the new boats are two of 26 high-spec craft that were first used as chase boats at last year’s America’s Cup. Through a unique partnership between Lotto NZ, Coastguard and Emirates Team New Zealand, and a $9.8 million lottery grant made possible by the millions of Kiwis who play Lotto NZ games each year, these boats have been reskinned and refitted for Coastguard units across the country.

Coastguard Eastern Regional Manager Bill Martyn says the new boats will enhance the two regions’ training capabilities to upskill the hundreds of volunteers who regularly are called upon to save lives in the water.

“One of the boats will stay here and will help out across the Eastern Region, being deployed as and where it’s needed; and the other will head to Auckland after the blessing to do the same for that area.”

“Together, Auckland and the Eastern Regions have the highest population of recreational boaties, so it’s fantastic that our units can receive these modern, fully-equipped boats to help keep all our units trained and ready to go when we’re needed.”

“Our volunteers are out there saving lives so it’s really important we give them the best training we can, and these extra vessels will help us deliver larger training events more frequently and with the most up-to-date tech.”

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie said these two new training vessels will play important roles in the future of the organisation.

"Training is a vital element in our mission of saving lives at sea. To have training vessels where volunteers can learn the ropes and develop their skills is a major benefit of this unique partnership project," he said.

"Additionally, having a full fleet of available vessels means that if any unit around the country requires a temporary vessel for any reason, we have resources that we can immediately deploy."

Lotto NZ Chief Executive, Chris Lyman, says supporting the vital work of Coastguard is what Lotto NZ is all about. 

“Lotto NZ exists to generate essential funding for New Zealand communities – it’s why we do what we do. The positive impact these high-spec vessels will have on communities around the country cannot be underestimated, with each one helping Coastguard save countless lives at sea each year. This is a great example of how Lotto NZ is all about Kiwis helping Kiwis." 

The refitting of the boats from America’s Cup supporters to CRVs has been taken care of by original manufacturer, Rayglass, with the support of Coastguard New Zealand, individual units and various community providers The boats may have now lost their America’s Cup branding, but Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton, says their involvement in this unique partnership remains a source of pride for the whole team.

“Coastguard are the unsung heroes of our waters around the country and so it’s great to see the fleet of vessels that supported us freshly refitted and taking to the water again to help them save lives.”


Notes for editors

  • The names Tirikawa and Ihenga were chosen and gifted consultation with local iwi.
  • The boats are to be blessed and named by Tauranga Moana and Te Arawa in a joint ceremony in Tauranga on June 11.
  • Media are welcome to attend: please email [email protected] for more information.


  • In partnership with Coastguard and Emirates Team New Zealand, a $9.8 million lottery grant funded 26 vessels to be used during the 36th America’s Cup, before they went on to become part of Coastguard’s fleet of rescue vessels.
  • 100% of Lotto New Zealand's profits are distributed back to the Lottery Grants Board, providing a major source of funding for sport and recreation, arts and culture, environment and heritage and community projects throughout the country. 

About Coastguard

  • Coastguard is a charity powered by over 2,000 volunteers in communities around New Zealand.
  • Coastguard receives 30% of its funding from central government. The other $18 million is raised each year through the support of members, donors, funders and corporate partners.
  • Last year Coastguard volunteers gave 291,402 hours to keeping New Zealanders safe on the water.
  • Volunteer crew on rescue vessels, in our search aircraft and on the end of the radio have been dedicated to saving lives for over 150 years.

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