Community volunteers honoured at Coastguard's Awards of Excellence
Coastguard volunteers and units who put their lives on the line for others were honoured at the Coastguard National Awards of Excellence Gala Evening, held in Auckland on Saturday.
Eight awards were presented to individual volunteers and units for their outstanding efforts, loyal service and dedication. The awards were for Hutchwilco Coastguard Volunteer of the Year; Mitre 10 Coastguard Rescue of the Year; Century Yuasa Coastguard Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year; Coastguard Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year; Coastguard Communications & Incident Management Volunteer of the Year; Coastguard Unit Support Volunteer of the Year; Coastguard Unit of the Year; Coastguard Community Relations Activity of the Year.
Coastguard New Zealand CEO, Patrick Holmes, says the annual awards honour the brave individuals and Units who provide a crucial life-saving service to Kiwis using New Zealand waterways, “These awards celebrate excellence in achievement by Coastguard volunteers across the many roles they undertake in serving both their community and the organisation as a whole. In addition the awards allow us to recognize their dedication and provide an opportunity for acknowledgement at a regional and national level as well as amongst their peers.
“This year alone, over 2,300 volunteers will give more than 315,000 hours of their time and bring more than 7,300 people home safely. As a charity we simply couldn’t achieve these outcomes without our volunteers and their continued dedication to saving lives on the water.”
Hutchwilco Coastguard Volunteer of the Year - Heather McDonald, Coastguard’s Sumner Lifeboat
With 23 years as a Coastguard volunteer under her belt, Heather has a vast amount of search and rescue experience. Heather has been a senior master since 2004 and a valued crew member since 1991.
Mitre 10 Coastguard Rescue of the Year - Coastguard Mana
With minimal information available and a 24 hour Cyclone Lusi alert in place, rescuing two fishermen was all in a day’s work for the Coastguard Mana crew who successfully brought the men back to safety.
Century Yuasa Coastguard Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year - Heather McDonald, Coastguard’s Sumner Lifeboat
Heather has made an outstanding contribution to Coastguard’s Sumner Lifeboat and helps aspiring senior masters prepare for their practical evaluation, training and coaching them as they work towards the certification.
Coastguard Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year – Gordon McKay, Coastguard Canterbury Air Patrol
Gordon holds a number of volunteer roles for Coastguard and has developed exercises instrumental in bridging the gap between air and wet based units. He has been at the forefront of development of the Coastguard Canterbury Air Patrol Remotely Piloted Air System.
Coastguard Communications & Incident Management Volunteer of the Year - Donald Scott, Coastguard Lake Taupo
As an active Coastguard volunteer Donald Scott’s main role is incident management. He is the local leader of Lake Taupo’s Incident Management Team and also assisted in the writing of the Incident Management manual for Coastguard New Zealand.
Coastguard Unit Support Volunteer of the Year – Geoff Wilkie, Coastguard Northern Region Communications
Geoff is a quiet achiever who always puts others first. His leadership skills have been displayed over the past year as he stepped up to temporarily take over the role of Chair, as well as his role at Training Officer and previously as Recruitment and Retention Officer.
Coastguard Unit of the Year – Coastguard Lake Taupo
Coastguard Lake Taupo is a well-managed unit with strengths in planning, strategy, financial management, training, health and safety, and volunteer well-being. The unit actively engages with the local community, including with iwi and a range of community groups.
Coastguard Community Relations Activity of the Year – Coastguard Waiuku
Coastguard Waiuku lifted the unit’s profile while sharing Coastguard’s values and safety messages with school children through mufti days. This community relations programme was directly responsible for the huge response the unit enjoyed during its MayDay appeal this year.
About Coastguard New Zealand:
Coastguard is the charity that provides New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service. The organisation operates from a network of four regions and 70 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand. Coastguard New Zealand is a volunteer organisation with a charitable status. It has more than 2,300 active search and rescue Volunteers who provide over 3157,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. Coastguard performs over 2,800 rescues each year assisting more than 7,300 New Zealanders. There are currently 78 dedicated rescue vessels in Coastguard’s fleet, 9 air patrol units and one dedicated communications unit. All crew members on board Coastguard vessels and air patrol craft are trained search and rescue personnel working to enhance the safety of all New Zealanders when they participate in boating and water activities.