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Pauanui. Photo: PIXABAY

Tairua, Pauanui recognised at rescue awards

New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) honoured several Coromandel organisations at the 2023 NZSAR Awards on May 16, for their efforts in an emergency situation off the coast of Tairua. 

The awards are presented annually to recognise outstanding achievements within New Zealand’s search and rescue region, which covers 30 million square kilometres. 

The Pauanui Surf Life Saving Club, Tairua and Pauanui Paid Lifeguard Services, Pauanui  and  Tairua SAR Squad, Waikato District Police and Tairua-Pauanui Coastguard were named in the operations category.

They received a certificate of achievement for the rescue of three adults and two children from the Tairua Harbour bar on January 5, 2022.

On that day, a boat carrying five people had overturned on the notoriously dangerous Tairua Harbour bar. Two children and an adult were trapped underneath. 

The rescuers took to the sea, recovered the children, righted the boat to rescue the adult and took all three people to the shore where they performed resuscitation. They also managed the crowd which had assembled, allowing three rescue helicopters to land. The three were transported to hospital, where the adult later died. 

This collaborative rescue effort, along with the other award winners, earned the praise of NZSAR’s secretariat director Duncan Ferner. 

“These people and groups represent the very best of the search and rescue sector in 2022,” he said. 

“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.”

NZ Police inspector Craig Rendel was full of praise for the police staff who were recognised. 

“These awards are a testament to the dedication and expertise of our teams who work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those in need,” he said. 

“Every team member and individual who was acknowledged at last night’s awards should feel incredibly proud of the recognition they have received.”