Event date: 
19 May 2021 - 3:15pm
Issue date: 
Article type: 
News from base

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.

Gold Award – Support


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

Tim Hogan

For his commitment to search and rescue through the creation and ongoing maintenance of the Mobile Locate software service.

Certificates of Achievement – Operational Activity

The NZSAR Certificates of Achievement for Operational Activity are awarded for an important contribution to search and rescue in the New Zealand Search and Rescue Region during 2020.

Aoraki Mt Cook Alpine Cliff Rescue Team
Aoraki Mt Cook Incident Management Team
Otago Rescue Helicopter
Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand

For the rescue of two climbers near Copland Pass on 10 January 2020.

Coastguard Nelson
Nelson Police SAR Squad
Tasman District Harbourmaster Team
Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand

For the rescue of six people from SV Ocean Gem near Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D’Urville Island on 18-19 March 2020.

LandSAR Turangi
Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation
Taupō Police SAR Squad
National Park Police SAR Squad
Tukino Ski Patrol

For the rescue of nine climbers from the Whangaehu Glacier on Mt Ruapehu on
26-27 September 2020.

Certificates of Achievement – Support Activity

The NZSAR Certificates of Achievement for Support Activity are awarded for an important contribution to search and rescue in the New Zealand Search and Rescue Region.


Max Corboy
For his service and commitment to Surf Life Saving New Zealand and the Otago Emergency Call Out Squad.

Sergeant Vincent Ranger
For his service and commitment to search and rescue.

Dr Charmaine Tate
For her service and commitment to search and rescue.

Sam Milligan
For his service and commitment to LandSAR and WanderSearch in the Wairarapa region.

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 nzsar.govt.nz