Volunteer with Land Search & Rescue

There’s a particular camaraderie that belongs only to those who’ve shared in a challenge to save the life of a fellow human being. It’s an experience that Search and Rescue volunteers know and value. You’ll find yourself stretched, sometimes physically, sometimes mentally. You may find a powerful new meaning to your life as an active contributor in your local community.

Volunteering for Land Search and Rescue does not necessarily require high levels of fitness or extensive knowledge of the outdoors. We have a variety of roles that can be performed by people from all walks of life and wide-ranging abilities. However, the aptitudes to think logically and decisively and to work under pressure are common requirements for most roles. We value diversity of thought and background.

Volunteer with Landsar

NZ Map

63 local groups

throghout New Zealand


Up to $10,000

per volunteer training


Over 3,000

trained volunteers

Volunteer Opportunities

We need volunteers in all positions – you don’t need to be outdoors focused. Positions depend on the teams and locations. If you’re interested in seeing the variety please read through the example volunteer roles below.

Governance or Committee

Our groups cannot function without leadership. As with all organisations, each group requires strategic direction and routine management and governance.

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Alpine Cliff Rescue

Covering terrain ranging from snowgrass and scree, to snow and icy slopes, heavily glaciated snowfields and mountains blanketed in winter snow.

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Cave Search and Rescue

Searching for lost persons and rescuing injured persons in cave or karst environments is highly specialised and has significant challenges.

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Canyon Search and Rescue

Canyon teams are called upon not only for Canyon SAR operations but also to support Field Teams to search technical terrain where additional skillsets may be required to maintain safety.

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Swift Water/River Search & Rescue

Water is very a dynamic environment to work in, and the operations that the River SAR teams get called out for are varied. Volunteers are highly skilled in the white water environment.

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Search Dog Handler

Handlers must be a good team fit for LandSAR Dogs, have an affinity with dogs and understand how animals learn through reward based training methodologies.

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Field Team

Each field team member is self reliant and performs a variety of tasks. They are capable of applying search techniques to locate the lost and missing, and first aid and stretcher management to assist those who are injured.

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Admin Support

Admin Support provide services to the IMT and the deployed field teams during a search and rescue operation, and help our groups operate. It is a vital role and search and rescue operations cannot function without it.

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Incident Management Team

The Incident Management Team (IMT) plans and manages search and rescue operations. It is led by the coordinating authority for the operation, which is normally New Zealand Police.

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Make sure you discuss joining SAR with your employer before signing up. Some work places allow special leave for SAR operations, others may require you to use your own leave. Discuss the process for notifying your boss when you are called out on a search.

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Land Search and Rescue acknowledges the huge commitment made by the whānau of our volunteers. Without family support, many of our volunteers would be unable to dedicate their time. Please share this information with your whānau.

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