Wakatipu SAR requires a variety of volunteers to remain fully operational.

We continually require applicants for our sub alpine team, our alpine cliff rescue team, our administration team and the incident management team. We recruit twice a year; normally in February and July.

If you are interested in any of the volunteer roles please request an application form from

Once we receive your application, you should receive an email from us acknowledging your application has entered our process.

All applicants must possess the following:

  • Minimum age – 18 years or older on attending trial period.
  • Have been in Wakatipu area for a minimum of 1 year.
  • Plan to be in Wakatipu area for a minimum of 5 years.
  • Possess a resident or permanent resident visa or be a NZ or Australian citizen. 

Field Team applicants must possess the following:

  • Experienced and confident in the outdoors.
  • Robust and able to endure hardship.
  • Ability to achieve the minimum fitness standard prior to becoming operational (sub alpine team): maintain an average of 3 km/h over 9 km route, which includes a climb of 200m over a lineal distance of 1km (this 1 km to be completed within 1 hour) carrying a 24 hour SAR pack, which weighs around 10kg. 


Group members are expected to maintain their skill levels by attending training and/or assessment activities as stipulated by their Group, to either attain or maintain role competency. The level of this commitment may vary from Group to Group.

You should also spend enough time in the hills to maintain your fitness and general bush craft skills.


A potential volunteer should have the appropriate backcountry skills, knowledge and experience to operate safely in a search and rescue environment, along with a commitment to learn. We can train you from there.  All LandSAR volunteers undergo training to attain and maintain role competency to ensure LandSAR groups possess the range of professional skills, local knowledge of terrain and conditions, and experience for search and rescue incidents in their locality and region.


To be useful on a typical bush SAR operation, you need to be fit enough to keep moving in rough country for 8 hours at a time. Stamina rather than speed is a pre-requisite.  Some search tasks, however, require only low levels of fitness so don’t be put off if you think you are not fit enough.  When you apply to join SAR, we will ask you to disclose any medical conditions that you present with and any medication that you are taking.  Please be honest because we ask these questions for your safety, and for the safety of those around you.  Examples of common medical conditions among SAR volunteers include asthma, allergies, diabetes, and impaired vision.  If we need more information, we will consult with you and seek medical or pharmacological advice. You can also ask your GP if you are unsure.


Volunteers must provide food, clothing and equipment for their own personal needs. In addition to the usual outdoor clothing, footwear, storm gear, gloves and headwear, LandSAR volunteers should pack enough food/drink for at least 24 hours.  Volunteers should also be prepared to stay out overnight and are expected to liaise with fellow team members about tents/flys/bivvy bags.


Generally members must be able to either get themselves to the designated assembly area or a transport pick-up point.  Volunteers may also be able to make arrangements to share transport with other members.


Make sure you discuss joining SAR with your employer before signing up.  Some work places allow special leave for SAR operations, others may require you to use your own leave. Discuss the process for notifying your boss when you are called out on a search.

Request an application form from


The application process is as follows:

  • We will confirm you meet our minimum standards for the role for which you have applied.
  • The Police will vet your application, as we work on their behalf.
  • You will be asked to attend a trial period. The trial period will last for 2 – 3 months.
  • At the conclusion of the trial period, the recruitment committee will review your application.
  • Successful applicants will be asked to become a probationary team member.
  • Probationary team members will be expected to attend an assessment day.
  • Probationary team members will be provided with a training pathway to become an operational team member, based on their performance at the assessment day.

Please be aware we are interested in members who are able to demonstrate a commitment to the group, and to the local area. Training and equipping team members requires a lot of resources and the dedication of our training team.

If you become a field team probationary member, you will be expected to attend an assessment day and then attend 75% of all fortnightly Thursday training nights in the first year.  From the 1st year onwards, you should attend 30% of fortnightly Thursday training nights. Every year you should attend at least one SAREX (SAR exercises) and at least one course/refresher.

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