Hamilton Search and Rescue was formed in 1998 to provide highly competent and operationally focused teams that are well led, trained and equipped.

We have approximately 60 members, of which 35 are part of our First Response team, trained and prepared to respond to a search operation at short notice. Others provide operations support, specific incident management roles, training and group management.

Area of Operations

Our primary area of operations is the Waikato region surrounding Hamilton, but we also provide support to neighbouring areas from the Coromandel peninsula to Waitomo, and beyond.

The area has a wide variety of environments from urban and suburban, to rural and wilderness. Each of these present unique challenges and hazards that influence our search techniques and approach.


Preparing for search and rescue operations requires developing a range of skills that need to be maintained through regular use.

Our members train in search techniques, navigation, tracking, stretcher management, rope safety, radio communications, first aid, helicoptor safety, incident management, outdoor safety, risk management, and leadership.


The New Zealand Police or New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) are responsible for the coordination of search and rescue operations, working with many organisations in the search and rescue sector that provide people, aircraft, vessels and other forms of support in response to a SAR event.

This means Hamilton Search and Rescue can work alongside Police, Coastguard, Fire and Emergency NZ, Surf Lifesaving NZ, NZ Response Teams, NZ Defence Force, Civil Defence, Amateur Radio Emergency Communications and other LandSAR teams.

Hamilton Search and Rescue are typically involved with 10 to 20 callouts each year.