Inaugural Beach and Coastal Search and Rescue Summit will Replicate Real-life Scenarios

Thursday, 27 May 2021


Media Release

26 May 2021

Inaugural Beach and Coastal Search and Rescue Summit will Replicate Real-life Scenarios

Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations around the country will be converging on Mount Maunganui from Friday May 28th to Sunday May 30th for the inaugural Surf Lifesaving New Zealand Search and Rescue Summit. Along with twenty of SLSNZ’s top SAR coordinators and senior SAR Squad team members in Surf Lifesaving, the summit will also host other SAR agencies including teams from LandSAR, Coastguard, the local Harbourmaster and Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Surf Lifesaving New Zealand is actively involved in search and rescue operations within the beach and coastal environment. Last year surf lifesaving SAR squads and lifeguards carried out over 319 searches for missing persons and rescued over 570  lives.

The summit’s focus will be on operational excellence and standards, inter-agency collaboration and critical emergency communications. The three days will see the delegates participate in two major maritime search and rescue exercises as well as workshops and forums.

Surf Life Saving’s National SAR Manager, Allan Mundy, wants the public to know that there is no need for concern if they see up to 12 search and rescue vessels from three SAR agencies on the water at the height of the exercise from Saturday 29th May onwards.

“The  water-based hide and seek exercises will be based on real- life incidents. The many search and rescue agencies will be put through their paces working together to recover all the patients and return them safely to base. The exercise will conclude at around nine o'clock in the evening. The area of operation will cover from Omokoroa to Matapihi in the Tauranga Moana.

But please, if people are concerned someone is in trouble, they still need to phone 111 and ask for the police.”

Mundy further reinforced the value of the exercises. “By undertaking these large scale exercises, all the contributing agencies can understand how each party operates and work to improve their collaborative efforts to ensure a fast and effective response to real-life call-outs.”   

NZ Search and Rescue Secretariat Manager Duncan Ferner says the exercises are a valuable way to foster connections and build capability across SAR organisations.

“Nearly 13,000 people are involved in the search and rescue sector in New Zealand, and 95% of them are volunteers. By training together at events like the SAR Summit, they’ll be better prepared to respond to real-life emergencies where a timely response is critical.”




SLSNZ is the national association representing 74 surf lifesaving clubs with 18,000+ members, including more than 4,000 volunteer Surf Lifeguards. Our lifeguards patrol over 90 locations each summer and provide emergency call-out rescue services throughout Aotearoa, saving hundreds of lives each year and ensuring thousands return home safe after a day at the beach.

We do all this as a charity and rely on the generosity of the public, commercial partners, foundations and trusts for donations and financial contributions in order to lead and support our incredible front-line volunteer lifeguarding services.


For more information, please contact:

Allan Mundy
National Search & Rescue Manager
027 245 2660


PICTURED: Surf Lifesaving NZ, Coastguard NZ and Taranaki Helicopter Trust undertaking inter-agency search and rescue training and exercises