Welcome to Wakatipu Search and Rescue

New Zealand Search and Rescue group based in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Call 111 and ask for Police when:

  • someone is badly injured or in danger
  • there’s a serious risk to life or property
  • a crime is being committed and the offenders are still there or have just left
  • you’ve come across a major public inconvenience, such as trees blocking a highway
  • any of these things are happening now or have just happened.

If you can’t decide if it’s a real emergency and you’re still worried, call 111 and ask us. We’ll help you work out what to do- New Zealand Police

111 calls are free. You can call this number on a mobile phone even if the phone is out of credit.

About Us

Wakatipu Search and Rescue was established in the early 1980’s.  Our objective is to provide search and rescue expertise to the people of the Wakatipu in a professional, timely and competent manner, to rescue, or retrieve the lost, injured, ill or missing and bring them home to their loved ones, and also offer our expertise to assist adjacent LandSAR areas.

Wakatipu Search and Rescue
Helicopter Safety Training

Often the only insight into the world of Search and Rescue Teams the general public ever see is a brief glimpse on the news.  In reality Search and Rescue goes way beyond these glimpses.  It is an extensive emergency service performed by specialists, police and civilian volunteers. When someone is lost, injured, ill or missing the task of locating and extracting them is delegated to Search and Rescue.  Each area of Search and Rescue employs techniques specific to the circumstance.  The general field of Search and Rescue includes many specialty sub-fields typically determined by the type of terrain the search is conducted over.  These include mountain rescue, ground search and rescue, urban search and rescue dogs.  Unpaid volunteers offer their skills 24 hours a day, seven days a week, often in extreme weather and testing terrain at no cost to the community or the subject. This can sometimes involve days or weeks at a time.  On average Wakatipu Search and Rescue have 20 call outs a year.  The terrain and the distances in the Wakatipu presents challenges to the teams in the field and the management groups supporting them.  All members train bi-monthly in all aspects of search and rescue and attend search and rescue exercises to keep their skill levels current with best search practice.  Wakatipu Search and Rescue is a volunteer organisation and is dependent on donations and fundraising for its revenue and resources to support its incredible team of volunteers.

New Zealand Land Search and Rescue

New Zealand Land Search and Rescue Inc. (LandSAR) is the national volunteer organisation within New Zealand providing land search and rescue services to the Police and public of New Zealand.

We are a national volunteer organisation which provides land search and rescue services to lost, missing and injured all over New Zealand. Our volunteers operate in suburban, urban, wilderness and rural areas including regional and forest parks, shorelines and caves.

Our unpaid professionals offer their specialist search and rescue skills free to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the New Zealand Police and the Rescue Coordination Centre. From April 2016 to March 2017 they donated over 33,121 hours to rescue operations and nearly 125,000 hours  to training and non operational tasks.

We have over 3,000 trained search and rescue volunteers who are members of 61 local groups covering the length and breadth of New Zealand. There are also 11 specialist teams such as LandSAR Search Dogs, LandSAR Caving, Alpine Cliff Rescue and Swift Water Rescue who operate on a local level where there is a requirement for these specialist skills.

The LandSAR Board is the governance body of the organisation and comprises of independent and elected Directors. The Board appoints the Chief Executive who delivers an annual management plan to support the Board’s strategies. He is supported by a small team of salaried National Support Office Staff.

The Patron of New Zealand Land Search and Rescue Incorporated is Lieutenant General Sir Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Mateparae GNZM QSO.

Join Us

Wakatipu LandSAR 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 join@wakatipusar.co.nz

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

Do you have what it takes to become a volunteer?


The Wakatipu SAR Group comprises individuals who volunteer their time and are often supported in their search & rescue work by employers who grant leave of absence from their paid employment. Our group operates in the “Adventure Capital” of NZ, and are kept busy with various live operations.

With the numerous work face each year, there is a need to train to meet critical situations that may be encountered to search for and rescue victims. This work can also require specialist rescue equipment and training which does not come cheap. The Group is always thankful for the help and financial support from the community, groups and organisations to allow our work to proceed in a professional manner.

Should you wish to help us with financial support, your donations can be received via:


Give A LittleGivealittle, which is owned by the Spark Foundation, offers a free, safe and easy way to make online donations to New Zealand charities. Spark take a small fee before passing your donation on to us. Click here to Donate.

Direct Credit:

Account Name: Wakatipu Search & Rescue Sub Committee
Bank: SBS
Account No: 031355-0544079-00


Post your donation cheque payable to: Wakatipu Search & Rescue Sub Committee

Queenstown Police Station

ATTN: Wakatipu SAR

11 Camp Street,

Queenstown, Otago

New Zealand, 9300


Queenstown Police

ATTN: Wakatipu SAR



New Zealand, 9300