Past Winners

The NZSAR Council Awards programme was introduced in 1999 to acknowledge outstanding search and rescue work by individuals, groups and organisations in the New Zealand Search and Rescue Region. The programme also serves to raise awareness of SAR efforts across the country.

2019 NZSAR Awards

The lifesaving and heroic actions of this special group of people were recognised with New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) Awards on 15 July in Auckland.

The rescue of a family of three thrown from their vessel while trying to cross the Port Waikato Bar in May 2019, saw Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club, Coastguard Waiuku, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, NZ Police Air Support Unit, Coastguard Papakura and Coastguard Northern Communications awarded with a NZSAR Gold Award in Operational Activity.

While the rescue of four people from a sinking vessel 37km off the coast of Cape Brett in October last year, saw the Maritime Operations Centre, Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand, 5 Squadron - Royal New Zealand Air Force, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and Coastguard Bay of Islands awarded with a NZSAR Certificate of Achievement for Operational Activity.

Both rescues were time-sensitive operations that challenged the search and rescue teams to think outside the box and work effectively together.

Usually held at Parliament in May, COVID-19 restrictions meant the cancellation of the national New Zealand Search and Rescue Awards ceremony. This was the first of a series of special presentations to be held around the country for this year’s recipients.

2019 NZSAR Awards Gallery.

NZSAR Awards 2018

On Wednesday 1 May 2019 Hon Phil Twyford, Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Transport Presented the NZSAR Awards for 2018.

The Gold Award for Operational Activity was awarded to Whanganui Surf Life Saving Club.

The Gold Award for Support Activity was awarded to Blake McDavitt of Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation.

The full citations of all the award recipients can be read in the awards booklet.

NZSAR Awards 2017

On Tuesday 10 April 2018 Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, presented the NZSAR Awards for 2017. 

The Gold Award for Operational Activity was presented to Steve Orr (St John), Joe Adam and Mandy Jackson. The Gold Award for Support Activity was presented to Dave St John from Coastguard Marlborough.

Two Certificates of Achievement for Operational Activity, and four Certificates of Achievement for Support Activity, were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

The full citations of all the award recipients can be read in the awards booklet.

NZSAR Awards 2016

On Wednesday 10 May 2017 Hon Tim Macindoe, Associate Minister of Transport, hosted the NZSAR Awards for 2016 in the Banquet Hall, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

The Gold Award for Operational Activity was presented to Ray Burge from Coastguard Northern region. The Gold Award for Support Activity was presented to Ian Coard from Coastguard Riverton.

Seven Certificates of Achievement for Operational Activity, and five Certificates of Achievement for Support Activity, were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

The full citations of all the award recipients can be read in the awards booklet.

NZSAR Awards 2015

On Tuesday 24 May 2016 Hon Craig Foss, Associate Minister of Transport, hosted the NZSAR Awards for 2015 in the Grand Hall, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

The Gold Award for Operational Activity was presented to three members of LandSAR Nelson, Silvano Lorandi, Mika Verheul and Richard Walker. The Gold Award for Support Activity was presented to Delanie Halton from WanderSearch Auckland Charitable Trust.

Four Certificates of Achievement for Operational Activity, and four Certificates of Achievement for Support Activity, were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

The full citations of all the award recipients can be read in the awards booklet.

NZSAR Awards 2014

On Tuesday 21 April 2015 their Excellencies The Governor-General, Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae, hosted the NZSAR Awards for 2014 at Government House in Wellington.

The Gold Award for Operational Activity was presented to five members of Surf Life Saving (Northern Region & Muriwai Lifeguard Service). The Gold Award for Support Activity was presented to Tony Groome from LandSAR Palmerston North.

Five Certificates of Achievement for Operational Activity, and five Certificates of Achievement for Support Activity, were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

In addition, a Certificate of Achievement Special Award was presented to 5 Squadron, RNZAF, for their participation in the international search for flight MH370.

The full citations of all the award recipients can be read in the awards booklet.

NZSAR Awards 2013

The NZSAR Awards for 2013 were held on 13 May 2014 in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Hon Michael Woodhouse, Associate Minister of Transport, presented the NZSAR Gold Award for Operational Activity to four members of South Westland Alpine Cliff Rescue.

Five Certificates of Achievement for Operational Activity, and two Certificates of Achievement for Support Activity, were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

NZSAR Awards 2012

The NZSAR Awards for 2012 were held on 7 May 2013 in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Hon Michael Woodhouse, Associate Minister of Transport, presented the NZSAR Gold Award to a crew from the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust.

Five NZSAR Certificates of Achievement were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

NZSAR Awards 2011

The NZSAR Awards for 2011 were held on 9 May 2012 in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Hon Simon Bridges, Associate Minister of Transport, presented the NZSAR Gold Award to a crew from the Hawke's Bay Helicopter Rescue Trust.

Four NZSAR Certificates of Achievement were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

NZSAR Awards 2010

The NZSAR Awards for 2010 were held on 13 May 2011 in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Transport, presented the NZSAR Gold Award to Captain Greg Lyall and the crew of the fishing vessel Amaltal Atlantis.

Four NZSAR Certificates of Achievement were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

NZSAR Awards 2009

The NZSAR Awards for 2009 were held on 21 April 2010 in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Hon Nathan Guy, Associate Minister of Transport, presented the NZSAR Gold Award to a crew from the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust.

Five NZSAR Certificates of Achievement were also presented to worthy recipients during the ceremony.

NZSAR Awards 2008

The NZSAR Awards for 2008 were held on 13 May 2009 in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Hon Steven Joyce, the Minister of Transport, presented the NZSAR Gold Award to John McLellan of Moeraki.

NZSAR Certificates of Achievement were awarded to Senior Constable Barry Shepherd, Graeme Harvey, Hendry De Waal, John Funnell and Kevin O'Sullivan.

NZSAR Awards 2007

The NZSAR awards for 2007 were held on 10 April 2008 in the Grand Hall at Parliament. The Minister of Transport and Police presented the NZSAR Gold Award to Lilah Foote, Rebekah Gee and Briar Macken.

An NZSAR Certificate of Achievement was awarded to to the team of ‘Operation Brewer’.

The International Maritime Organisation Bravery Award was re-presented to Brett Churcher.

NZSAR Awards 2003

The 2003 Award was made to Mount Cook (Aoraki) Alpine Rescue Team in recognition of their outstanding performance and contribution to search and rescue in New Zealand.

NZSAR Awards 2001

LandSAR had the pleasure of nominating AREC for the National SAR Award, for their long commitment to Search and Rescue in New Zealand, not only Land SAR, but assistance with Marine and Class III searches as well. It was gratifying that AREC was the ultimate recipient of this Award.

After a number of attempts to schedule a presentation ceremony, the date of Friday 1 Feb was finally selected. The Marine Safety Authority hosted the event in their building in Featherston Street in Wellington.