Search and Rescue sticks its hand up

Far North Search and Rescue (FN SAR) has appointed Due North for public relations consultancy and support. The pro bono brief involves building community appreciation for what the organisation does, boosting membership, enhancing relationships with existing sponsors and engaging with potential supporters. Due North will also produce the organisation’s monthly newsletter.

FN SAR’s 25 skilled volunteers provide search and rescue support from just north of Whangarei right up to Cape Reinga, a 7,300 square kilometre area of farmland, rugged and heavily-forested terrain, islands and 2,250 kilometres of coastline. They range in age from 17 through to late-60s and so far this year they’ve put in over 1,100 man-hours on incidents ranging from a cliff-side rescue to a suspected suicide.

“These unsung heroes of the community get called out on weekends, in the evening and in the wildest weather, and there’s usually a terrific story behind each search,” said Due North managing director Peter Heath. “Many people know about Search and Rescue but they just don’t have the emotional bond they have with organisations like the Coastguard or Surf Lifesaving New Zealand. Our aim is to change that.”

The sponsorship element of the programme has already started to yield results with Fonterra donating $2,500 to fund specialist clothing and equipment for FN SAR.

Group spokesman Ian Ruddell said few search and rescue groups had access to PR support.

“I suspect this is one of the reasons search and rescue as a whole flies fly so low beneath the national radar. It’s time we popped up into view”, he said.

Due North operates throughout New Zealand and across Australia, the Asia Pacific region and Europe, working with clients as far afield as Hong Kong, Paris, Zurich and Brussels. Its services include public relations consultancy and programme delivery; issues management and crisis communication; media, writing and presentation training; and any type of writing or editorial support.

FN SAR is a registered charity and affiliated with NZ LandSAR, a national volunteer organisation providing land search and rescue services to the police.