Young Coastguard Rotorua Lakes volunteer takes home national award

Coastguard New Zealand is delighted to announce Amy Nattrass, from Coastguard Rotorua Lakes as our Emerging (Young) Volunteer of the Year for 2023. This week, we are announcing all 10 of our Awards of Excellence winners. 

Amy is a rising star in the Rotorua community, with an impressive track record of leadership and volunteer service. Starting as a Young Mariner in Rotorua at the age of nine, she quickly progressed to become a Junior Leader and then an Assistant Leader. Her journey continued as she transitioned to the Tauranga Young Mariners and took on the role of Assistant National Advisor, eventually becoming the National Advisor.  

But Amy's contributions extend beyond the Young Mariners; she currently serves as the Secretary for two Coastguard New Zealand Units, Rotorua Lakes and Taupo in addition to her on-water volunteering.  

Despite her young age, Amy has amassed an impressive list of qualifications, including a Skipper Restricted Limits (SRL) certificate, making her one of the youngest people in the country to hold one. She is also on the cusp of completing her Senior Crew Phase, which will make her one of only two female skippers in her Unit and will see her joining a growing group of wāhine leading the way in Units across the motu. 

She recently organised a successful Search and Rescue Exercise, collaborating with various search and rescue organisations, showcasing her leadership skills and attention to detail.  

Amy's involvement in her community goes beyond her official roles. She actively participates in organising community events, such as the Summer Lottery, local lake cleanups, Unit open days, and functions. She also engages with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's 'Boaties BBQ,' strengthening relationships with like-minded individuals.  

One noteworthy contribution Amy has made was creating a comprehensive list of names and locations across the Rotorua Lakes region, encompassing both Māori and English place names. This initiative ensures that radio operators can communicate with boaties in the water confidently, reducing confusion that may have existed in the past. 

Amy Nattrass: “To be recognised for what I thought was a pretty standard contribution is amazing as well as motivating. I feel pride in knowing that my efforts have made a positive impact and further fuels my commitment to volunteering for Coastguard.”  

“The amount of learning from others' experience has been invaluable, and the support the team provides is exceptional. The Unit has become a second family and the memories attached to this experience are ones to be talked about for years to come.”  

Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie: “Amy gives her all for Coastguard, both on and off the water – making a real difference to her community and fellow volunteers. We’re extremely lucky to have Amy’s skills and enthusiasm, paving the way for our next generation of Coastguard leaders.” 

“Amy’s dedication to our mission is exemplified by the fact that she’s also a key staff member in our Education and Community Education team, delivering vital bar awareness seminars to communities across Aotearoa – all in-between her volunteering time!”  

Coastguard New Zealand also congratulates Steven Dee (Coastguard Waihi Beach) and Nathalie Le Blanc (Coastguard Whangaruru) as finalists in this category for their 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