Have you got what it takes?

It’s 10pm on a Sunday evening. You arrive at the Catchpool car park to see a group of people gathered around two distraught parents. They haven’t seen their 4 year old since he disappeared at just after 7pm.

The parents spent two hours frantically searching before calling 111.  The temperature is expected to drop to near-freezing overnight, and wind and rain are forecast to arrive within 3 hours.

The assembled LandSAR teams are all that separates a happy reunion and a family tragedy. Have you got what it takes to help?

Search and rescue work is unglamorous, happens at inconveniant times of the day and night, in bad weather and when you least expect it. It's often a thankless task. Far from typical media images of helicopters and search dogs, most work gets done by steady, calm and methodical effort. Stamina is more important than speed. We need people who can quietly join the team, commit to the necessary training and work steadily to build up their search and rescue skills. If you're after a quick adrenalin hit, then LandSAR isn't for you. 

People we need


Like every organisation, we need good administrators. Good quality training support is even more important. If you're not interested in operational roles, but still want to make a useful contribution to your community, we'd love to hear from you. We're particularly interested if you've got skills in minute taking, accounting, fundraising or event organising.


Field Members are responsible for the on-the-ground work. They can be asked to operate  from the snowline to the coast, including urban and suburban environments. Field Members are taught specialist search skills, tracking, radio communications, rescue procedures and patient care.

Incident Management

Incident Management Members are responsible for the planning, managing and support the search and rescue operation, often as part of a multi-agency team. Specialist skills including operations management, communications, intelligence, GIS and logistics.

Learning and Development specialists

Good quality training is vital to our organisation. If you've got skills and experience in training design and delivery, competency design and assessment, or relevant instructional skills, you can make a valuable non-operational contribution to our group.

Skills you'll need

Field Members

Applicants need to have good general outdoor skills, a good level of fitness and knowledge of [our operational area]. In practice this means you need to be able to navigate on and off track, be able to comfortably operate with a multi-day pack for several days in extreme weather, and have spent plenty of time exploring our region. The minimum entry skills we need are provided in the Probationary Team Member Competency document.

Incident Management

Our incident management Members are generally recruited internally, but if you've got prior experience working in command and control roles, or have experience in intelligence, communications or GIS, then we'd like to hear from you.

Search Dog Handlers

We only accept Search Dog Handlers from LandSAR Search Dogs. They've written an excellent article for people thinking about training a search dog here.

Time commitment

Commitment to operations

Operations happen at all times of the day and night, and every day of the week. While we don't expect you to be available all the time, the rough rule of thumb is you should be available for around half of the operations each year. This means you'll need to discuss volunteering for LandSAR with your family, partner and employer. Let us know what your expected availability is when you apply, and we'll discuss any issues with you before your start the joining process.

Commitment to training

Like any emergency services organisation, we've got certain expectations for training attendance. After you've passed our entry test, you'll be expected to attend three weekend courses in your first year, and attend at least one two-day weekend exercise. We also hold training sessions every month on Thursday evenings, and you'll be expected to attend at least half of these. After your first year of membership, there will be occasional weekend courses, as well as at least one two-day weekend exercise a year.Members are also encouraged to help with event support occasionally. 

Next step

Please complete the form below.  The purpose of the form is to gather some initial information about you. This will be followed up and we’ll arrange a phone call to tell you more about LandSAR Wellington and discuss your enquiry.  Should you wish to apply, further details on your skills and experiences will then be collected.

LandSAR Wellington currently has a waiting list prioritised by skill, experience and local knowledge. From the waiting list,  we select people with the skills we need at that particular time.

We generally hold an intake of new members in March- April each year. Depending on need, we sometimes hold further intakes in June-August . You will be contacted before the next intake and if selected will be invited to attend a briefing for prospective members.

Please use the Contact Form and get in touch with our Membership Officer.

Thank you for your enquiry. We will attempt to contact you within the next month.