Two Coastguard volunteers receive Queen's Birthday Honours

Coastguard New Zealand is extremely proud of both Henry van Tuel (Coastguard Hawke's Bay) and Michael Cole (Coastguard Howick) who were both acknowledged on The Queen's Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours List. 

Henry van Tuel (Coastguard Hawke’s Bay) 

Henry was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for his services to the Coastguard. Henry is a former CNZ President, former Unit President and current Vice-President and Senior Master. He has delivered ‘safety at sea’ education via the media, schools and community groups. Henry has also built positive relationships with local Police and Search and Rescue partners and is regarded as a ‘go to’ person for planning, organising and running searches, whether on the Incident Management Team or as skipper, making himself available 24/7.

Henry has volunteered for Coastguard Hawke’s Bay for 15 years, having previously volunteered with the Wellington Unit. His long dedication and legacy work on Coastguard New Zealand’s governance is also widely respected across the country. Congratulations Henry! 

“This acknowledgement was a total surprise – I had no idea it was coming. The only reason I volunteer is because I love being part of the community helping others - that’s always been the main driver. I love boating and the sea and I saw Coastguard as a natural fit both in Napier and Wellington. I’m a strong believer that if you’re in the local community, you should be engaged in the community,” Henry said. 

Michael Cole (Coastguard Howick) 

Michael received a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Coastguard and the RSA. Michael is a former CG Howick Skipper, now Crew and Education Officer and a practicing Coastguard Boating Education Tutor. 

Michael has a long and well-respected place within Coastguard, having joined in 1988 on retirement from the Royal New Zealand Navy. As well as being a Skipper for 32 years, spending an estimated 11,000 hours on the water, Michael’s role as a Coastguard Boating Education Tutor for the past 22 years has seen him teach VHF Radio, GPS and Day Skipper courses to hundreds of boaties across the Auckland region. Congratulations Michael!

“I was very surprised when I received the email informing me I was being put forward for the QSM award and then receiving the confirming letter a month or so later. I am very humbled that my peers would consider me as a worthy recipient,” Michael said. 

“My recognition is for one individual, but in essence it reflects on the Coastguard Howick team and the service they give to Coastguard and the community. I also recognise the part my wife and family played in this award and the support given so that I could pursue my interests. A pager callout is not without anxiety and home support is vital in being able to maintain a commitment to a search and rescue organisation.” 

Coastguard New Zealand President Bennett Medary said Henry and Michael fully deserve these acknowledgments given the vast amount of commitment and time they’ve given to their respective communities. 

“I am thrilled that both Henry and Michael have been recognised in this way. It’s easy to underestimate the contribution that senior Coastguard volunteers make in terms of outcomes for their communities saving lives at sea. As well as spending thousands of hours on the water, Henry and Michael have both contributed a huge amount of time in leadership and training roles to the betterment of fellow volunteers and Coastguard as a whole. These are significant volunteer contributions which deserve to be recognised.”

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