Life Flight

Each week 28 people need time-critical aeromedical care. With your support, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Air Ambulance Planes are there in their moment of need.

Service, commitment, and operational excellence honoured


On Tuesday 18 May 2021, the Hon Michael Wood, Minister for Transport presented the 2020 New Zealand Search and Rescue Awards.

These awards are presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievements within New Zealand’s search and rescue region, which covers 30 million square kilometres.

Awards given in the Operations category recognise significant rescue operations that took place between 1 January and 31 December 2020.

Awards given in the Support category recognise the contributions of individuals to search and rescue in New Zealand.

One Gold Award and up to four Certificates of Achievement are awarded in each category. Twenty-nine nominations were received for 2020, with two Gold Awards and seven Certificates of Achievement being awarded at this year’s ceremony.

We were very impressed by the calibre of this year’s Award winners

– New Zealand Search and Rescue Secretariat Manager, Duncan Ferner.

“Some of these individuals have worked diligently behind the scenes to ensure that people in distress have a higher probability of being found. Others have headed out into atrocious weather conditions to rescue people at risk.”

“Every one of them has sacrificed time with their family and friends to provide a vital service to New Zealand. Without their efforts, fewer families would be reunited or loved ones returned home.”


Award Winners were:

Gold Award – Operational

The Gold Award for Operational Activity is awarded for a very significant contribution to search and rescue in the New Zealand Search and Rescue Region during 2020.

Bernie Pepper, Mike Beausoleil and Hannah Latta (Life Flight)

For the rescue of an adult and child swept out to sea near Wainuiomata on 15 November 2020.

SAR Awards


The New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) Council was established in 2003 to provide strategic leadership to the New Zealand search and rescue sector. We help improve the overall co-ordination, cohesion, capability and leadership of search and rescue by working alongside the key organisations and individuals providing search and rescue services throughout New Zealand. For more information see

For the full press release and list of NZSAR award winners click here

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