Central Otago Search and Rescue


Organisation Summary

Central Otago Search and Rescue (COSAR) is a registered charity and is affiliated to NZ LandSAR.  COSAR relies solely on donations, fundraising and volunteers to actively work in Search and Rescue.  Our home area is Central Otago, but we do assist other areas as and when required.

We are a small but dedicated group of volunteers, who are available when called out by the Police to search for and rescue lost people in our area, which includes anything from searching in town, along the Rail Trail, along our rivers to searching in our vast back country area.  We also sent a team to Christchurch after the earthquake in February 2011.

Any section of the community may be a user of our services.  We often have searches for persons with alzheimers or dementia, hunters, trampers, persons using the great outdoors, children and young people, despondent persons.

Our group relies on radio communications and a radio tracking system and there are volunteer positions available for field operational persons as well as volunteers interested in working on the radios and non-field positions.


Radio Operators use VHF radios to communicate with field operators from the Police station or the mobile communications unit. This includes maintaining appropriate radio logs.

Time Commitment:

In Alexandra there is one training night per month, plus about 3-4 one-day training courses and 1-2 weekends per year, plus 2-3 days on searches. 

Callouts may occur anytime (day or night), so volunteers should be willing and able to attend most of these within normal lifestyle restrictions.  COSAR average about 1 callout each month, but there are less over winter months.

Skills required:

  •  Excellent verbal and written communications skills.  A clear concise voice is essential.
  • The willingness and ability to learn relevant communications terminology.
  • Ability to use a computer and record information clearly and accurately.
  • Minimum age 18 years.  
  • The willingness to work alongside the Police in a positive way.

Skills gained:

  • All LandSAR volunteers undergo training and maintain a training programme to ensure LandSAR groups possess the range of professional skills, local knowledge of terrain and conditions, and experience for search and rescue incidents in their locality and region.
  • Teamwork, search methods, tracking  and clue awareness skills, radio communications, 4 wheel driving, first aid, operating safely in the outdoors

 For more information please also check our website www.landsar.org.nz

Schedule Summary

This activity generally occurs on

  • Monday - All Day
  • Tuesday - All Day
  • Wednesday - All Day
  • Thursday - All Day
  • Friday - All Day
  • Saturday - All Day
  • Sunday - All Day