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Working together to improve search outcomes for New Zealand Search and Rescue Operations.

What it is

The purpose of this project is to enhance the cooperation between the NZ Search and Rescue (NZSAR) Coordinating Authorities and the Telecommunications industry to improve NZSAR outcomes for New Zealand while respecting privacy and other regulatory requirements.


A Cabinet decision in 2003 established the NZSAR Council and operational arrangements for the coordination of Search And Rescue (SAR) activities in the NZ Search and Rescue Region for land, aviation and marine environments.

In June 2018, a project was commenced to enhance the Standard Operating Procedures relating to requesting and interpreting information from New Zealand Telecommunications providers that might aid in the rescue or recovery of the subject of a SAR operation who may be in possession of a mobile phone.

NZSAR wrote to the TCF requesting that the industry work together with Police, NZSAR and the Privacy Commissioner to develop processes which would facilitate access to mobile telecommunications information relevant to Search and Rescue operations.


This project is expected to deliver the following:

  • Identification of a single source of search and rescue assistance requests, along with clear criteria, controls for requests and thresholds to be recorded in a code or other document;
  • Better location information for Search and Rescue operations resulting in reduced time to rescue persons in distress; and
  • Transparent disclosure procedure with ability for independent Privacy Commissioner’s office audit.

Who it applies to

  • Mobile Network Service Providers

Who it affects

  • Mobile phone customers
  • Mobile Network Service Providers
  • NZSAR Coordinating Authorities
  • NZ Police
  • Privacy Commissioner

Working Party establishment

The Working Party was established in March 2019.

Working Party Members

Related News

Last Modified On Monday, 15 July 2019