On Tuesday, three of our people received awards on behalf of their teams at the prestigious New Zealand Search and Rescue Awards at Parliament.

This was to acknowledge their teams’ efforts to locate Whāngarei Boys' High School student Karnin Petera in the Abbey Caves on 9 May 2023, and return him to his whānau.

For their efforts, a Certificate of Achievement - Operational Activity, was awarded to:

  • The Te Hiku Specialist Water Rescue Team, represented by Senior Station Officer at Onehunga Station, James Hall
  • The Urban Search and Rescue Team, represented by Station Officer at Auckland City Station, Andy Cardno
  • The Whangārei Fire Station and support staff, represented by Group Manager for Northland, Graeme Quensell

Alongside Northland Land Search and Rescue, the Northland Police Search and Rescue Squad, and Northland Plumbing, Gas and Drainage, these crews worked tirelessly through the afternoon and evening of 9 May to locate and retrieve Karnin, who was returned to his whānau by 11pm that night.

The weather conditions were extremely challenging, with heavy rain persisting and water levels continuing to rise until around 10pm.

Members from Karnin’s whānau were in attendance to present the certificates, alongside Hon Matt Doocey. It was very special to have Karnin’s whānau there to acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved and pay tribute to Karnin.

Thank you to all our people involved, for your mahi and your ongoing commitment to search and rescue in Aotearoa.

Graeme, Andy and James

Graeme, Andy and James with Chief Executive Kerry Gregory and National Commander Russell Wood

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