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New rescue vessel enhances ability to save lives at sea

Press release: Coastguard


Honouring the past and looking forward to a future of saving lives at sea, Coastguard Nelson unveiled its new Rescue Vessel, Hohapata – Sealord Rescue today.  

The $1.4 million purpose built vessel is the result of many years of fundraising and a generous $215,000 helping hand from Sealord as well as support from Pub Charity and an array of community Trusts and Foundations.

After 17 years of service to the community Coastguard Nelson’s current vessel, Talley’s Marine Rescue has come to the end of its life and with the unit covering one of the largest areas of coastline in Aotearoa, the decision was made that a state of the art, extreme weather rescue vessel was needed to enable the volunteer crew to operate safely in all conditions.

As naming rights sponsor, Sealord sought input from Te Tauihu Iwi to assist with the naming of the vessel. Hohapata – Sealord Rescue was the name kindly chosen and gifted by Ngāti Koata Kaunihera Kaumātua.

Sealord CEO Doug Paulin says the story behind the name acknowledges everyday people doing extraordinary things.

The vessel is named after Hohapata Te Kahupuku of Ngāti Koata (1834-1913), a selfless man who was instrumental in saving the lives of the crew on board distressed ship, Delaware when it got into serious trouble on the rocky Whakapuaka coast in 1863.

“It’s a very fitting tribute to a vessel and volunteer crew that are dedicated to saving the lives of people in the Top of the South,” says Mr Paulin. “Unveiling the name today and officially launching this outstanding rescue vessel is a hugely significant milestone in what has been a tremendous effort by Coastguard Nelson for the benefit of the wider community.

“Sealord is very pleased to have been involved but our heartfelt thanks go to the Coastguard Nelson fundraising team and volunteers for all their hard work in the lead up to today and to Ngāti Koata for gifting this name on our behalf,” he says.

Coastguard Nelson President, Peter Kara says Hohapata risked his own life to save the lives of many others during a maritime rescue operation, which is something Coastguard volunteers do every day.

“We could not save lives at sea without the selfless spirit of our volunteers and our rescue vessel. The new boat carries the name of Hohapata Te Kahupuku and his legacy, reminding us of that altruistic spirit and leading us towards a future of helping countless boaties and watergoers in the Nelson region.”

The new 11.3 metre Naiad is powered by two Hamilton jet engines for versatility and safety, with an estimated top speed of 40 knots. Hohapata – Sealord Rescue has a dedicated triage bay enabling volunteers to administer first aid in a safe contained environment, observation platforms allowing better visibility when searching and can carry up to 8 volunteer crew.

“This vessel is a game changer for Coastguard Nelson and greatly enhances their capability as first responders,” says Coastguard New Zealand Chief Executive, Callum Gillespie.

“The unit have been involved in countless search and rescue operations, many of which have seen the crew spending over 10 hours on the water in rough conditions to bring people home safely.

“With this new vessel they now have an elevated level of confidence that their primary piece of rescue equipment will not only be incredibly reliable in such conditions, but will allow them to provide better medical care to those they rescue,” says Mr Gillespie.

Coastguard Nelson currently hold the highly coveted Coastguard New Zealand Rescue of the Year Award for the gruelling rescue of sailing yacht Ocean Gem. When Ocean Gem lost its steering in treacherous conditions en route from Hobart to Picton in March last year, Coastguard Nelson spent over 14 hours towing the vessel 51 nautical miles back to shore with the volunteer crew facing severe swells and terrible seasickness with only bolsters for seats and no fully enclosed cabin.

The arrival of Hohapata – Sealord Rescue will set Coastguard up for the next 20 years of saving lives in the Nelson community.


For more information, please contact:
Julia James
Communications Manager
Coastguard New Zealand
021 435 804

About Coastguard: 
Coastguard is the charity that provides New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service. The organisation operates from a network of 63 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand. Coastguard New Zealand is a volunteer organisation with a charitable status. It has more than 2,000 active search and rescue volunteers who provide close to 300,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. 

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