Two Queenstown Lakes men are among the first recipients
of a new national award for search and rescue excellence.
Russell Carr, from Wakatipu LandSAR (Land Search and Rescue),
and Alan Gillespie, from LandSAR Wanaka, have both received
the LandSAR Excellence Award for ''an outstanding
contribution at local and regional level to search and rescue
over a period of 20-plus years''.
The award was introduced for the first time this year and was
presented to four search and rescue volunteers nationwide at
last month's New Zealand LandSAR conference. The other two
men were from the North Island.
The pair joined their respective LandSAR groups in 1977 and
served continuously until Mr Gillespie retired in 2009 and Mr
Carr retired earlier this year.
Mr Gillespie was chairman of LandSAR Wanaka several times,
most recently from 2004 to 2007, during a time of
considerable growth within the group and a strengthening
relationship between the police search and rescue unit and
He was involved with search management and was a search
adviser from the mid-1980s. He advised on some of LandSAR
Wanaka's more notable searches, such as the Morgan Saxton
search on Lake Wanaka in November 2008, which resulted in the
group being awarded the LandSAR New Zealand Supreme Award in
''He was a committed practitioner of search and rescue with
his broad skills and professionalism. He is highly respected.
He has made an outstanding contribution to search and rescue
at all levels,'' his award citation said.
Mr Carr, who was previously awarded the Queen's Service Medal
for services to search and rescue, became active in LandSAR
mainly through his significant involvement in the alpine
He was a long-standing alpine instructor with the Mountain
Safety Council and served on the national avalanche committee
of that organisation for some years.
As an operations manager for a mountain guide company, he
became regarded as an alpine safety expert and served for
many years as safety auditor for Safety Audit New Zealand. He
was on Wakatipu LandSAR's committee for most of his time with
the group, including several years as chairman, was an
adviser and member of its incident management team and was
involved in the group's training for many years.
He served on the Southern Region committee as the Wakatipu
representative for nearly a decade and was regional chairman,
also serving on LandSAR's national firstname.lastname@example.org