Meet the MV Kahurangi – AirBerth feature vessel

Jun 7, 2018

The MV Kahurangi (meaning Treasured Possession, Jewel of the North) is the main rescue vessel for Coast Guard New Zealand – Whangaroa.  It is also the latest vessel in the Coast Guard New Zealand Fleet to ‘raise hull’ on the AirBerth.

Area of Operations

Whangaroa is located in the Northern Region of the North Island of New Zealand a remote area in the country’s North.

Coastguard NZ - Whangaroa Coastal Patrol Area

Coastguard NZ – Whangaroa Coastal Patrol Area * Map supplied Courtesy of Coast Guard NZ Whangaroa

“The operational area for Coastguard Whangaroa is from Matauri Bay at the south eastern end of the Cavalli Islands and west to Berghan Point and out to the 12 mile limit.  This is an area of roughly 374 sq. nm (1240 consisting of open Pacific Ocean and many miles of rugged coast line and islands with one sheltered harbour area.”   

“The majority of the operational area has relatively deep water and the coastal areas are isolated rugged coastline with generally steep inaccessible cliffs.   The coastline is directly exposed to weather from the northwest to east.”

Extracts from Coast Guard NZ – Whangaroa – Unit History

MV Kahurangi: choosing the right boat

M650 Coastguard NZ-Whangaroa-11m Smuggler RIB-Whangaroa, NZ

M650 Coastguard NZ-Whangaroa-11m Smuggler RIB-Whangaroa, NZ

The MV Kahurangi is a Smuggler Boats Strata 11.2m custom designed rescue vessel for Coast Guard Whangaroa.   Built by respected New Zealand boat Manufacturer Smuggler Marine, this vessel features:

  • a GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester or Fibreglass) hull vessel; and,
  • twin diesel sterns legs for propulsion;
  • Shock-mitigating seating for its crew;
  • the latest search and rescue equipment; and,
  • a fully enclosed cabin to faciliate search and rescue operations.



With a very exposed and isolated coastline in the North-East, the MV Kahurangi is built to withstand severe weather conditions up to Force 7 on the Beaufort scale.

Typical missions include:

  • rescue mission for its localised patrol area;
  • extended SAR (Search and Rescue) Operations  in deep water with adjacent coast guard units.

Boat Storage at Harbour

Given the remote location at Whangaroa, access to haul out facilities were quite far away and costly.  In addition, this remoteness meant that during maintenance the vessel would not be availble for operations for an extended period.  Thus, reducing the maintenance shedule and maximizing availability for deployment was identified as a priority during the development of the business case in 2014.

Coastguard NZ-Whangaroa tests their new M650 AirBerth Boat Lift

Coastguard NZ-Whangaroa tests their new M650 AirBerth Boat Lift

The unit then begin investigating ‘out of water’ storage options for the Kahurangi.  Having previously trialled a drive on system, the unit then decided on an AirBerth with the:

  • ease of use; and the,
  • speed of launch and retrieval on the AirBerth.

cited as a major benefit to this rescue unit.

“Being about to retrieve and stow the boat in minutes with the AirBerth has been a major plus to the crew of the MV Kahurangi, particularly when we come back to port at 3 am  in the morning after a rescue.”  Bob Kidd, Unit President – Coast Guard Whangaroa.

Out of the water

Installed by AirBerth Distributor Paul Johnson from Poly Tech, the M650 is the 2nd unit installed with Coastguard NZ, following the M320 for Hibiscus recently.

Coast NZ-Whangaroa with Paul Johnson and the crew from the MV Kahurangi

Coast NZ-Whangaroa crew – left to right – Bob Kidd, Jenni van Ellemeet, Lisa Clemmett, Ross Wagener, Jo Wagener, Sandra Moore, Dave Page and Mike van Ellemeet. With Leo the dog and AirBerth Installer Paul Johnson in front.


“This was a tricky AirBerth install, due to the remote location, however, we were up for it!” – Paul Johnson from Polytech NZ our Exclusive AirBerth dealer in New Zealand.

AirBerth Boat Lifts are proud to support Paul and the good people in Coast guard NZ who volunteer their time and expertise to help make the coast of New Zealand safe.



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