< All Roles

Field Operations Searcher

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.  Their home area is Central Otago, but they do assist other areas as and when required.

They 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 their area, which includes anything from searching in town, along the Rail Trail, along our rivers to searching in our vast back country area.  They also sent a team to Christchurch after the earthquake in February 2011.

Any section of the community may be a user of our services.  They 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.

Volunteers are needed to search and track for lost or missing persons in the field and providing basic first aid if necessary.

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.

Volunteers also gain teamwork experience, search methods, tracking  and clue awareness skills, radio communications, 4 wheel driving, first aid, operating safely in the outdoors.


Interested volunteers must be/have:

  • A minimum age 18 years
  • A willingness to work alongside and engage with the Police in a positive manner
  • Useful on a typical SAR operation, you need to be fit enough to keep moving in rough country for 8 hours at a time. Stamina rather than speed is a pre-requisite.  Some search tasks, however, require only low levels of fitness so don’t be put off if you think you are not fit enough.  
  • The appropriate back country skills and a commitment to learn. 
  • The ability to work in a team and to stick to task.
  • Prepared to go out at any time and sometimes in adverse weather conditions
  • A First aid qualification is needed or volunteers must willing to gain this through training
  • Experience 4 wheel driving and navigating in Central Otago locations advantageous but not essential.
  • Access to own vehicle (some reimbursement available) helpful but not essential.

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.

Getting started

The first step is to express your interest by filling out the form below. We will then put you in touch directly with the organisation for more information on the role and how to proceed.

Ref: 1779

Apply for this role:


Demographic information:
Used anonymously for statistics to demonstrate our impact to funders.
Other information (optional):
In applying for this position I confirm that I have read the requirements of the position and believe I have the skills and attributes required to carry out this role safely and effectively.