Youth Search and Rescue Tauranga Trust, is an independent non-profit Charitable Trust and Incorporated Society in which, youth between the ages of 14 – 18 receive training over a period of three years.

The programme was initially started to address the aging population of the community volunteers aligned to the Search and Rescue and Emergency Management sectors. In 2009/2010 New Zealand SAR secretariat released research suggesting that 67% of all Search and Rescue volunteers were male and over the age of 40. It was clear that the emergency response sectors were entering a period where there was an increase in the number of volunteers unsuitable for field deployment and that this would continue to a point of crisis from 2020 and beyond unless this was addressed at a strategic level.

Since its inception YSAR has gained significant interest and community support in the Bay of Plenty providing Search and Rescue and Civil Defence Emergency Management training to Bay of Plenty youth. Since 2009 YSAR youth have identified career pathways linked with STEM. We are confident that through this project and with a specific focus on STEM pathways as strategic outcomes, significant progress can be made.

YSAR Tauranga has been operating for 8 years.  Our core objective is to train young people between the ages of 14 and 18 to become active community volunteers in the emergency management and search and rescue sector.  The programme is aimed specifically at Western Bay of Plenty students and is the only one of its kind in New Zealand.


To impart a love, respect and understanding for the New Zealand wilderness to young people through a SAR specific training program while preparing them to save the lives of lost and injured persons.

The Tauranga Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR) program is an independent non-profit organisation, which aims to enable teenagers to develop the necessary skills to participate in becoming full active members of LandSAR New Zealand. Upon graduation each member will be able to operate safe and effectively for up to 48 hours in the field while applying current search theory and practice.


Students commit to the 3-year programme. Students put in 600 hours of their own time each year and at the end of the 3-year programme graduate with an impressive number of qualifications including Land Search and Rescue certificates, Coastguard Day Skippers License, Land Mobile Radio communications license, Outdoor First Aid certificate and the National Certificate in Civil Defense Emergency Management.

The course opens up career pathways for many students and the leaders and stakeholders often open up opportunities in related organisations and education facilities. The training is a mixture of weekly classroom theory and planned weekend outdoor exercises and camps requiring students to navigate ‘off track’ in difficult and challenging terrain. Since 2009 YSAR youth have identified career pathways linked with Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We are confident and through this project and with a specific focus on STEM pathways as strategic outcomes, significant progress can be made.

YSAR’s personnel and equipment is made available for actual operational responses to Tauranga Land Search and Rescue and the Emergency Management sector including Lifesaving, LSAR, USAR, Coastguard and the Fire Service. Equipment would also be provided to Civil Defense for large scale emergency events. YSAR uses its radios/communications system in volunteer work, marshalling charity events and fundraisers.

YSAR aligns with a range of partners to ensure the appropriate search and rescue skills are well delivered to its instructors and students, as well as utilising and developing best technology practices. Some of these partnerships include Search & Rescue Institute of NZ, NZ Mountain Safety Council, Rescue Helicopter, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Skills Active, House of Science, Tauranga Psychological Services, Metservice, Aeronavics, Eagle Tech, Civil Defence Emergency Management and the Duke of Edinburgh.