Royal New Zealand Coastguard

"CNZ" redirects here. For the Angolan airport with that IATA code, see Cangamba Airport.
Royal New Zealand Coastguard
Formation 1976
Type Charitable organisation
Purpose Maritime search and rescue
Headquarters Level 2
470 Parnell Road
New Zealand
Chief Executive Officer
Patrick Holmes
2,326 active volunteers
18,000 supporter members

The Royal New Zealand Coastguard is the civilian volunteer coastguard of New Zealand, the primary search and rescue organisation for the nation's coastal waterways and major lakes. The New Zealand Police coordinate smaller search and rescue incidents (Category I) in New Zealand, with assistance and resources from Coastguard as required; major maritime incidents (Category II) are coordinated by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), who may call on the resources of the New Zealand Defence Force.[1]

Government agencies including the New Zealand Police, Maritime New Zealand and the New Zealand Customs Service manage maritime law enforcement and border control, with the Coastguard not having a role, unlike in a number of other countries.

Sea rescue services have existed in New Zealand since at least 1861, but it was not until 1976 that various local groups formed the national New Zealand Coastguard Federation. It was granted Royal Patronage in 1990, and dropped "Federation" from the title in 2005.


The Royal New Zealand Coastguard is a charitable organisation, relying on membership fees, fundraising, donations, and grants from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, to cover expenses of $8.5 million a year.[2] The service announced a per hour charge out rate to non-members in 2006,[3] and made calls for government funding in 2007.[4] The The Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008 was passed into law in August 2008, requiring Auckland councils to provide funding for amenities in the city, including Coastguard Northern Region.[5] As of 2014 the annual membership fee is $115,[6] while the hourly assistance rate for non-members is $280.[7] the founder of the New Zealand wad John Percival Eastmure The charity often faces issues with non-members who refuse to pay the charges after being rescued, sometimes for several call-outs in a row.


A New Zealand coast guard vessel at Waiheke Island.

The national service is divided into four regions, comprising 68 affiliated local units. It has 78 dedicated rescue vessels, plus 9 air patrol units. Vessels include: 9.5 m rigid-hulled inflatable boats, powered by twin 250 horsepower, four-stroke outboard engines and capable of over 45 knots,[8] an 18.6 m ex-Team New Zealand tender,[9] and a $1 million state-of-the-art 14 m jet-powered catamaran.[10] Units are based in cities and towns around the New Zealand coast, and at some lakes including Taupo and Wakatipu.[11][12] The Auckland Marine Rescue Centre is the control centre for the Northern Region.


The Royal New Zealand Coastguard volunteers all over New Zealand put in 270,000 hours in 2007,[2] while the Northern Region staff as an example expects up to about 420 call-outs in January 2010, of which about half would be by non-members. At 47%, almost half of all call-outs were reported to be due to mechanical failures, often considered avoidable by better maintenance.

Examples of some of the incidents attended are rescuing eighteen schoolgirls from Waitemata Harbour after their competition rowing boats were swamped,[13] pulling two fishermen out of the water in Hawke's Bay after their small dinghy was adrift for nearly 24 hours,[14] and getting a couple to safety after their yacht capsized in atrocious conditions in the Bay of Islands.[15]

The organisation runs education events, such as classes for female skippers,[16] and two Hauraki Gulf cruises highlighting popular anchorages and hazard awareness.[17]


  1. "NZ Search and Rescue – Who Does What?" (PDF). Maritime New Zealand. June 2004. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  2. 1 2 McCracken, Heather (3 July 2008). "All aboard with the Coastguard". Central Leader. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  3. "Coastguard struggling to stay afloat". TVNZ. 29 December 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  4. "Coastguard calls for govt funding". TVNZ. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  5. Trevett, Claire (28 August 2008). "Key slams bill - but has backed it for now". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  6. "Coastguard Northern Region Membership: options and fees". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  7. "Coastguard Northern Region Membership: membership benefits". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  8. "Far North to get new coastguard vessel". 3 News. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  9. Rose, Mike (16 February 2008). "America's Cup team tender joins Coastguard fleet". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  10. "Fundraising triumph as rescue boat hits the water". New Zealand Herald. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  11. Roxburgh, Tracey (20 September 2008). "Coastguard presence justified". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  12. Hine, Will (31 March 2008). "Coastguard arrives". Southland Times. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  13. Hudson, Alice (28 September 2008). "Teen rowers have lucky escape". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  14. "Fishermen in miracle rescue named". New Zealand Herald. 2 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  15. "Dramatic sea rescue brings tears to coastguard skipper's eyes". TV3. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  16. Rose, Mike (26 April 2008). "Boating courses put confident women on board". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  17. "Coastguard cruises to showcase top anchorages". New Zealand Herald. 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-03.

External links

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