Ōpōtiki businesses fully behind Coastguard efforts out on the water

They are the heroes behind the heroes - the whānau, friends, colleagues and employers behind the scenes that enable Coastguard volunteers to stop what they are doing, head to base and head out to sea.

With this unconditional support from their communities, Coastguard volunteers can put all their focus and efforts into the task at hand - regardless of how long the job takes. This scenario has played out in Ōpōtiki over the past few weeks, as Coastguard volunteers from Ōpōtiki, Whakatāne, Maketū and Auckland Air Patrol units searched for missing fisherman Jason Kauta. Over several days, six volunteers from Coastguard Ōpōtiki both on land and sea supported emergency services in the search.

In particular, we would like to pay tribute to four local Ōpōtiki businesses; Delta Contracting, Sure Cut Trimmin, Radio 1XX and Anstis Farms, which paid Coastguard volunteers full day wages while participating in the multi-day search.

Coastguard Ōpōtiki President and crew member on the search Ron Jones, expressed his thanks to the businesses for supporting the volunteers, and by virtue the search for Jason as a whole.

"Without the support of employers, we wouldn't have volunteers. If employers weren't gracious or kind enough to say 'yes, no worries, go', we simply couldn't do the work we do out on the water," he said.

"We initially got the call to search on Sunday, and after a long day were tasked for the following two days - with volunteers scheduled to go back to work. A few quick calls later, all employers signed the leave off with no drama, that's how we roll in a small community."

Ron also reserved a special acknowledgement to the volunteers themselves who gave up their own time to participate in the search across several long days on the water.

"At the drop of a hat we launched on Sunday afternoon and were out until 10pm. It takes a big effort to keep the concentration and comradery up over that time and I thank our volunteers for their professionalism and team work," he said.

With the search for Jason now suspended, our thoughts remain with Jason's whānau, and we hope that there will be a resolution to this incredibly trying time.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family from Coastguard Ōpōtiki," Ron said.

For more information, contact: 
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor 
[email protected]

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