Our Values

We give 100% effort to the task at hand and complete it to the best of our ability.
We do not wait to be asked and in our decisions and actions we are accountable.
The member is the group and the group is the member.
We see the humour in all adversity that we may face.
None of us shall see him or herself above the needs of the group.

Mission Statement

Hamilton SAR Group provides highly competent and operationally focused teams
that are well led, trained and equipped.


Elton Parata
Gilbert Southworth
Gin Peck
Membership Coordinator
E ninandnim@xtra.co.nz
Matt Hassard
Operations Coordinator
Russell Lamb
Dave Pitchford
Police Rep
Jake Crosby
Newsletter (Non-committee)

This Months Meeting 18th July

  • Barry - Probability of Area & Team Initiative
  • Gin - Upcoming LandSar CEO Roadshow on 22nd August 2011
  • Michael Donovan (YSAR Graduate) - Presentation optional

Monthly Training Wednesday 27th July

The venue is yet to be decided. If you would like anything specific covered at one of the trainings please let Matt know. Please txt or call Matt to let him know whether of not you will be attending the monthly training. It is expected that all members attend these evening sessions.

Last Months Meeting

  • New committee introduced and group plan explained
  • Suggestions taken for future meetings
  • Compass Exercise


  • If you are going away: Contact Gin with the dates you are unavailable.
  • If you are unable to attend a training: Contact Matt Hassard.
  • If you are unable to attend a meeting: Contact Gin or a committee member.

New Chairman - Elton Paratanew

  • Management roles with private and public organisations
  • Management qualifications from The University of Waikato
  • Represents the city on the Regional CDEM (Civil Defence Emergency Management) Executive Group
  • Has represented New Zealand in both Dragon Boating and Rugby

Two Hamilton Members in NZ Tracking Campnew

Matt Hassard and Elton Parata have been chosen for the NZ Tracking Camp at OPC from the 8th to the 12th of August. Twelve people from groups around NZ were selected at the tracking selection camps held in both the North and South Islands in May.


June 15th A missing 75 year old with dementia in Kihikihi. Six people responded to the pager message before another message came through that the missing person had been found alive and well.

June 19th At about 3pm, when most people had left the SAREX, a guy in his 20's came to the door to see if his partner had called in. They had become separated on an afternoon walk on Pirongia (after he stopped for a comfort call), so it was very handy some people were still there as he could give the details directly to the Police. Some Hamilton SAR and YSAR members were sent up the various tracks and Gin went to the carpark in case she came down. Gin was able to talk to two other ladies at the car park and they confirmed they had seen and spoken with her about an hour earlier. They called in to the lodge to confirm location last seen. At 4:40pm the radio message came through that she had been found on the track, waiting for him. He was a very relieved young man that she was found before dark and before he had to tell her parents that he'd lost her. The only part he wasn't looking forward to was the tongue lashing he was going to get from her.

June 30th Two males around 20 years old on Pirongia. They had run out of light coming down the old Tiwarawara Track to Te Tahi Rd. One team went and found them on the track at around 2am. A pager message was not sent.

July 16th An autistic male was missing in Te Awamutu. He was found by police shortly after the callout having walked about 20km towards Otorohanga.

New Membersnew

Amy Cullen

I work full time at Trek 'n' Travel and also teach clarinet and saxophone. My main hobbies are tramping and rock climbing, I have a BSc in Chemistry and until recently have been heavily involved in the local music scene. I live in Hamilton East, where my partner Jake (from SAR) and I have recently bought our first home.

Matthew King

I'm an entertainer, doing the pubs circuit. Irish ballads and lots of instruments. Like dancing to them too. Career oscillated between the NZ Army (Int) and press photography. Deep in the jungle was magic. Learning audio engineering now. Was with Auckland Coastguard for years, a keen sailor and navigator. Keen to promote LandSAR.

Craig Davis

I enjoy spending time with my partner and our 4 dogs. I'm employed by Hamilton City Council as an Animal Control Officer. Born and bred in Hamilton, lived overseas for 13 years. Enjoy making outdoor equipment; hammock, lightweight tarps, bags etc. Love the outdoors and a spot of hunting.

Carl Finlay

I have my own fencing contracting business specialising in the rural market. My interests include hunting, rugby, golf, pretty much anything sporting. I have a partner Claire and a little boy Mackenzie who is 11 months old.

June Monthly Trainingnew

SAREX - Graeme Hill (and Gemma)new

An extract from NZ LandSAR Search dog newsletter

Since becoming operational in May we have had two call outs only to be stood down after initial pager message, with missing persons located safe and well on both occasions. So it was with a lot of anticipation myself and Gemma headed for the Waikato Police District Annual SAREX. Actually to be fair Gemma wasn’t aware the SAREX was on, she was just going ‘somewhere’, so it was just me who was excited. Finally off to a SAREX with an operational search dog! The SAREX was held in Mt Pirongia Forest Park over the weekend of 17-19 June and was organised by Hamilton SAR Group and the Waikato Police SAR Squad.

This year's SAREX followed on nicely from the May search dog assessment camp in Waiouru, where we had heavy rain on and off for the entire weekend. The SAREX was run slightly different to previous ones with round robin refresher training completed Saturday morning covering first aid, TCA, Search Methods, Clue processing, Comms, GPS use and Sign cutting. SARINZ instructors Hogi, Terry and Blake made the trip up from Central North Island to help with this phase and we had members of St John’s SERT (Specialist Emergency Response Team) team and Hamilton SAR to assist with instruction. After a well catered lunch we were briefed on the search scenario for ‘EX TRACKEM’ and split into our teams of 4-5 people. As most Waikato LandSAR groups were represented we were guaranteed to be working with at least one or two new faces in our team. Each team had the same scenario in that they were given a briefing pack for their search area including GR for the LKP of their teams lost party and maps. It was up to the team to appoint a TL, establish a search plan and brief the IMT on this. Our team had ‘instructions’ that we could not use Gemma for the first couple hours of the search. Our team consisted of Jake and Amy, Tim (Waihi), myself and Gemma. Having located the LKP, which was on the bush edge (it's confidential how we were so sure we had located that point…), the team kicked off with some great visual tracking and sign cutting deep into the bush. Excellent team work to negotiate very difficult terrain. Gemma definitely wasn’t used to ‘following’ and was not shy of the occasional protest whine or bark, the team will attest to that. The terrain became quite difficult early on, with large areas of windfall which made signcutting difficult in areas. It became harder as time went on and night fell, which I was looking forward to – the first opportunity to test my latest bit of kit in an operational environment. My new Nitelights ‘Destroyer’, which with 1200 lumens on your head, was like unleashing a night sun. There were some very good displays of TCA and tracking by the team to get us out of a serious deadspot amongst a large amount of windfall. Gemma had plenty of ‘fun’ amongst this, scrambling over the fallen trees and branches, falling through and bottoming out on tree branches a number of times, on a couple occasions I carried her over big sections while trying to step through myself. When the time came to let Gemma do some tracking we were on the verge of the windfall in the bush. Tim had gone ahead slightly and located some good sign. Gemma picked up the track, slowly working over the remaining fallen trees and branches. She wasn’t too keen on the seemingly bottomless grass either side of the trees she was jumping over in the dark. We tracked uphill through the bush and out onto an access road, she cast around at the road and pulled right leading us up the road for around 40m before stopping and recasting, we came back down the opposite side of the road to the point we exited the bush, but this time continued straight along the access road. By this stage Gemma was pulling hard. Just down the road we found a footprint clear enough the team could check against an acetate we had made earlier in the bush. We kept tracking along the road and on to a grass verge where Gemma recast around, I was thinking maybe our lost party had left the road at this point and returned into the bush, but Gemma was off again having relocated the track. Further along the road Gemma cast onto the right side and entered the bush. About 50-60m into the bush we circled back down further along the road, and we did this again further down the road. We continued along the road for a little bit and by this stage the team was with us watching Gemma cast around to indicate up the bank to the right. After a bit of sniffing she shot straight up into the bush. Moving up the bank we could see definite slipping signs. This time we kept heading deeper into the bush, Gemma was tracking really well and we started yelling out for the lost party. Soon after that an orange tent came into sight in the distant bush, we yelled out for the lost party and could hear groans coming from the tent area. At the tent Jake and Amy assessed the two ‘lost’ persons who were ‘suffering’ from hypothermia and other illnesses, and Tim contacted base to advise what we had found. Meanwhile I was outside having a quick play with Gemma as a reward for doing a great job, and to make sure she does it again in the real situation. With first aid rendered and base fully briefed on the situation it was time to set up camp. I originally planned on taking just a bivvy bag but with the heavy rain forecast opted for a more comfortable sleep in a tent. Gemma showed her appreciation by curling up to sleep on the tent before I could even put in the first pole. Needless to say no sooner had the tent been set up and sleeping bag thrown in, the dog was in there lying on her new goose down ‘duvet’ and looking at me strangely. Unlike another Search dog in the North Island, which reportedly just stares at you from outside the tent, this one not only gets into the tent before you, she warms up the sleeping bag too! The only downside is the big sighs and occasional snoring. The next morning, we had to decamp and navigate across to another teams campsite to process it for clues. The SAREX was well organised from start to finish, lots of great learning experiences for everyone involved. It was really good to do a combination of visual tracking and scent tracking giving everyone in the team a great opportunity to practice and learn from one another. Finally, thanks to my team members for making the weekend experience all the more enjoyable.

Yvonne & Bennew

Yvonne and Ben have started a blog on their volunteering in Banepa, Nepal. namaste-nepal2011.blogspot.com

Backcountry Ration Packsupdated

We now have a supply of the 24 hour packs again, they cost $20. Please contact Matt Hassard if you would like to purchase any for SAR use only. We will have them at the next meeting so bring money along if you would like to purchase some.

We have Classic, Adventure, No Worries & a few Vegetarian ones.

No Worries
Gluten free. Cocoa Rice Balls and Fruit Salad, Smoked Chicken Lunch, Thick Tomato Soup, Honey Soy Chicken and “Snacks and Drinks” pack
Yoghurt and Muesli, BBQ Chicken Wrap, Beef Teriyaki, and “Snacks and Drinks” pack
Porridge Supreme, Savoury Beef Wrap, Roast Lamb and Vegetables and “Snacks and Drinks” pack

For Saleupdated

  • Backcountry ration packs — with breakfast, lunch, dinner and extras pack (tea, coffee, chocolate etc.). They are a bargain at $20. Remember – these are sold to our group at this special rate on the understanding that they will only be used during SAREXs or SAR Operations.
  • Hamilton designed SAR cloth badge, $6.00 (contact Russell).
  • Whistles — Bright and Loud, $12 (contact Barry).

Pager Test Message

Reminder for all those members with pagers. The first of every month a test message is sent out to ensure your pager is operational, if you do not receive this message you should contact Matt.

Personal Details

Contact Russell if there are any changes to your contact details so the callout list is updated. Change of email address also needs to be passed on to Jake for the newsletter.

SAREX Sponsorsnew

A big thank you to our sponsors for the SAREX prizes. Ridgeline, Trek 'n' Travel and Macpac

Discounts for Members

  • Bivouac Outdoor – 20% discount
  • Trek 'n' Travel – 20% discount
  • R&R Sport – 25% discount – Ask for Wayne Addison.
  • Torpedo 7 – 10% discount – Email Barry for our discount code.
  • Kathmandu – Free summit club membership
  • Macpac Hamilton – up to 30% off.

Macpac Discountnew

Macpac Hamilton at stage 3 Te Awa, The Base are offering 30% off Macpac branded gear with 10-20% off non Macpac gear for SAR personal. Members will have to produce an ID card and join their wilderness club. For commercial bulk orders they will do 40% off.

For a laugh

The Balloonist

A woman in a hot air balloon realised she was lost. She reduced altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit more and shouted: "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am..."

The man below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be an Engineer," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the man, "how did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you have told me is probably technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is, I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip by your talk."

The man below responded, "You must be in Management."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."


18thMeetingSearch planning scenariosHamilton
27thTrainingMonthly Training (Wednesday)Hamilton
12th - 14thCourseSearch MethodsTauranga
12th - 14thCourseTrackingTaurangaNew
15thMeetingGuest Speaker - Leadership and InitiativeHamilton
20th - 21stCourseSearch MethodsHamilton
20th - 21stCourseTeam LeaderHamilton
20th - 21stCourseFirst Aid (SARINZ)Hamilton
22ndMeetingLandSar CEO RoadshowHamiltonNew
25thTrainingMonthly Training (Thursday)Hamilton
3rd - 4thCourseMLSO RefresherHamilton
16th - 18thCourseFirst Aid (MSC)HamiltonNew
19thMeetingDecision Points Part 2 and Search MethodsHamilton
23rd - 25thCourseMLSO - 3-Day Initial Response CourseNational ParkNew
28thTrainingMonthly Training (Wednesday)Hamilton
9th - 10thCourseFoundation Rope RescueWhitianga
18thMeetingRogaine practiceHamilton
27thTrainingMonthly Training (Thursday)Hamilton
11th - 13thCourseFirst Aid (MSC)Tauranga
30thTrainingMonthly Training (Wednesday)Hamilton
MeetingPack Float on Waikato RiverHamilton
9th - 11thCourseMLSO - 3-Day Initial Response CourseNational ParkNew