AREC Update and Funding 

AREC National Director Don Robertson’s ZL2TYR would like to share with you details of the NZ SAR funding, what it means for AREC, and how it will be spent to build a capable forward-looking organisation. 


The background to this was a number of discussions held by Don Robertson with members of the SAR sector and other organisations we work with. “There was overwhelming support for what we do and genuine surprise that we were 100% volunteer with only small levels of income” explained Don. “The need to provide stability for the future was a key driver behind the submission”. 

With full support of NZSAR, Don enlisted the help of a business analyst to build a business case to submit to Government. This was “quite an exercise” admits Don, “however it is clear that we need to think and act differently if we are going to step-up and deliver what I know we are capable of” he says. 


Don was successful in securing $1.67m over three years for AREC. “The basis of the submission was simply that we need a better way to run the organization” says Don. This will include some paid staff as well as investment into systems to help run AREC. “However, the most important investment needs to be in our people” he explains. 

Engaging with our Volunteers 

“Like many groups, AREC relies on its volunteers to deliver our services to the community” says Don. “Therefore, this funding means we can invest in our people through training, as well as ensuring we have the processes in place to support them when they are out in the field”. 

Steve Davis ZL2UCX, AREC’s Training Manager says “developing and delivering training is a big cost item for any organisation, especially one as geographically dispersed as we are. For the first time, we will be able to engage the right resources to ensure we can create meaningful material that will develop our members”. The training investment will be across all levels. “We need to build capability in our Group Leaders as well as developing our front-line” adds Don. 

Volunteer Strategy 

AREC Deputy Director Lindsey Ross ZL4KS has been leading work around building a volunteer strategy for AREC, which has included working with Volunteering New Zealand. “When I think back over my time in AREC, we have really been a technical group of like-minded Amateurs joined by a desire to help others. And while this may still be true today, what we need to consider is how do we encourage new members to join us, and how do we help all of our members think of AREC as a good use of their time”. Don Robertson comments that “Lindsey has done a great job of helping us think differently about how NZART, AREC, Groups and members interact. And it is clear that we haven’t got this right everywhere, and we need to”. 

AREC Priorities 

  • • Build a committed, competent and engaged membership across AREC 
  • • Work with Group Leaders to support them to meet the needs of their members and community 
  • • Build core IT systems that means people can get what they need, when they need it 
  • • Invest in marketing and fundraising to get our message out there and encourage new people to join us 
  • • Invest in training and volunteer management 
  • • Develop policies and procedures that look after the Health, Safety and Wellbeing of our people 
  • • Work to build an AREC brand, including clothing and PPE that clearly identifies us 
  • • Constantly innovate in our delivery to ensure we remain relevant into the future 

“This funding represents a turning point for AREC” concludes Don, “it is up to all of us to build an organisation we want to be part of and one that will endure into the future”.