Page updated: 7 January 2021
Search and rescue services for the New Zealand Search and Rescue Region are provided by many organisations. The New Zealand Search and Rescue Council provides strategic leadership and direction to the sector.
Responsibilities or who does what
The Government has overall responsibility for search and rescue (SAR) policy. The NZSAR Council membership is drawn from the chief executives of the government agencies that have various SAR management or coordination roles. The Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Defence Force, Maritime NZ, the Civil Aviation Authority, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and the Department of Conservation.
The NZSAR Council is supported by the NZSAR Secretariat. The Secretariat provides strategic coordination for SAR through support services, policy advice, and implementation of NZSAR Council decisions. The NZSAR Secretariat convenes the NZSAR Consultative Committee, a national forum for all New Zealand SAR stakeholders including voluntary groups, and facilitates research, reviews and reports relevant across the SAR sector.
The responsibility for the operational co-ordination of SAR operations rests with one or the other of the two Coordinating Authorities, Police or RCCNZ. The Coordinating Authorities work in close cooperation where necessary and coordinate the activities of the many organisations in the SAR sector that provide people, aircraft, vessels and other forms of support in response to a SAR event.
The actual search and rescue response activities are carried out by a host of organisations and groups; 95% of the people who provide the search and rescue response are volunteers.
We are committed to ensuring all people working in the SAR sector, whether on a paid or voluntary basis, are kept healthy and safe during their activities with us.
We are in the business of searching for and rescuing people – often from dangerous situations or locations. We require all SAR organisations – formal or informal, who provide us with people and expertise to have the capability to manage the health and safety of their people (volunteers or otherwise).
We will not put SAR peoples’ lives at unacceptable and unnecessary risk while they are carrying out activities for us, and we will therefore not tolerate or engage the services of SAR organisations or people who are unable to demonstrate that they have the capability to manage health and safety during their activities for us.