Wānaka Search and Rescue: Safeguarding the Community through Specialised Training

9 May 2024

Funding Stories

Tucked away in Central Otago, the Wānaka Search and Rescue (SAR) team plays a vital role in keeping the local community and visitors safe. Recently, the team has undertaken specialised canyon rescue training to address the increasing number of rescue operations in the area's rugged terrain.

With the stunning Wānaka region and the vast Mount Aspiring National Park as their domain, the Wānaka SAR team is responsible for responding to a wide range of emergencies, from lost hikers and mountaineers in the back-country to dementia patients in urban environments.

The Wānaka region, with its 100,000 annual visitors and residents, presents a significant challenge for the SAR team. They typically respond to over 30 operations each year, ranging from high-altitude searches to personal locator beacon activations.

To maintain their readiness, the team requires ongoing funding for essential equipment replacement and comprehensive training. This ensures that the Wānaka SAR volunteers are equipped with the latest gear and possess the necessary skills to navigate their unique terrain and execute complex rescue operations.

The recent canyon rescue training has been a critical investment in the team's capabilities. As the region's natural wonders continue to draw adventurers, the ability to safely navigate and rescue individuals from these remote and sometimes hazardous environments has become increasingly important.