Home      Contact

rescue searches Northland

Northland Search and Rescue Profile

Northland Search and Rescue ProfilePRESS RELEASE

After being carried from the bush with a leg injury Jenny Calder decided to join Land Search and Rescue (LSAR).

Jenny is now the secretary for LSAR Region One, which covers an area from the Bombay hills to Cape Reinga and she is a committee member of Northland LSAR.

She is one of 35 members of the Northland group that attends 10 or more call-outs a year to help find lost people, people who have been injured in remote places, and rescue people from difficult areas such as caves, cliffs and rugged terrain.

Jenny loves the challenges of being a volunteer LSAR member. “There is the camaraderie within the group, the skills and experience you gain and at the end of the day the best thing to see is a good result. When you take the person back to their family you just can’t describe the look on their faces.”

Glenn Hawke reiterates Jenny’s comment about getting a good result from an incident. He has been with NLSAR for 20 years and joined because of his love for the outdoors and desire to help people. Both are passionate about their work in the organisation, which can be challenging, but worthwhile.

Jenny says one of the hardest jobs she did was being a part of the search for Coral Burrows, the young girl murdered by her stepfather Steve Williams. “It was one of the longest and hardest searches with intense media interest.”

Glenn specialises in cliff rescue and a recent one took him and some other team members to a remote area near Cape Reinga to retrieve a body from a cliff face. They received the call about 3.30pm and after travelling to Te Paki they took a four wheel drive vehicle and then a tractor around the coast before climbing to the site to retrieve the body.

It was 5.30am before they arrived back in Whangarei and after having a quick shower had to go to their normal workplace that morning. “That’s not unusual in a search and rescue event,” says Glenn. NLSAR has carried out many successful and prominent rescues, such as a rescue this earlier year involving a group of students from Kerikeri High School.

In March twenty three students, two teachers and one other adult went on a hike from Russell to Punuruku and were expected to arrive at Punuruku at 1pm. A cyclone warning had been posted that day and when the students reached the stream at Punuruku they could not cross it as the heavy rain had turned it into a raging torrent.

NSLAR and the Police SAR team were called in and NSLAR set up a river crossing with rope and an inflatable dinghy to transport the group and its gear across the swollen stream. The rescue took place just as it was getting dark in adverse conditions and its success was put down to the “great” team work of the NSLAR members and Police.

With rescues such as these Jenny, Glenn and the other members of Northland LSAR face many challenges in their work, but one of the most difficult challenges is finding enough funds to buy all the equipment they need.

Northland Land Search and Rescue is a voluntary organisation that receives no government funding. It has been operating since 1935 and in 1994 it formalised a partnership with the New Zealand Police. The Police provide structure to help local LSAR groups and with training, but they do not provide any funding.

Jenny says it can cost between $5000 and $7000 to fit a member out with all the specialist gear. Small items such as a torch can cost up to $200 and these costs often come out of the members’ pockets. Northland LSAR recently received a grant from the Whangarei Lions Club for two GPS units and sponsorship from Pub Charities for specialist LSAR jackets, but still needs more funding so it can carry out its work.

Northland Land Search and Rescue [NLSAR] is a professional unpaid, not for profit, volunteer based group that provides specialist cliff face rescue and cave rescue teams who cover all of the Northland area, which stretches from Kaiwaka in the south to North Cape at the top of New Zealand, and provides a land search and rescue capability for the Lower Northland Police Area for all SAR Op’s within the Whangarei, Kaipara districts. NLSAR also provides additional Resources for Far North LSAR Group who attend Land/Bush Operation’s in Far North Police Area.