New Zealand Response Teams are groups of people from the community, who volunteer their time in emergencies to help when the emergency services are overwhelmed. 

Response teams are part of the response to an emergency – their activities are coordinated through the Emergency Operations Centre.

They are trained to professional standards as an emergency resource that can complement or support the emergency services, if the size of an incident or event is beyond what they can usually manage. 

What Response Teams do 

New Zealand Response Teams are registered with the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management in accordance with national guidelines. This means they meet various criteria around training, equipment and procedures, ensuring they can provide a professional service.

Each team’s capabilities and functions vary depending on the hazards in their area and their community’s requirements.  Members commit to weekly training in urban search and rescue and other emergency activities such as storm and flood response, incident control, rope rescue and support for land search and rescue as well as rural fire. 

Our local teams have helped in Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake, the 2013 Wellington storm, the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake along with a number of land search and rescue searches.

How response teams help

Typical Response Team capabilities and functions include:New Zealand response team NZRT 18 practising emergency rescue

  • light rescue in support of the New Zealand Fire Service and Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, to find  and recover victims from a structural collapse (such as after earthquakes)
  • flood response such as water diversion
  • storm response such as emergency temporary building repair
  • specialist rescue functions or services such as swift water rescue or rope access
  • assistance in the evacuation and security of people and properties
  • impact assessment and reconnaissance for the Emergency Operations Centre
  • medical support to the community and emergency services
  • Emergency Operations Centre support 
  • incident management team support for rural fires.

Through their close connection with the community, Response Teams are also often involved with public awareness and education initiatives associated with emergency skills.

Response Teams in the Wellington region

There are currently four registered response teams in the Wellington region:

  • NZRT7 - Victoria Rescue
  • NZRT8 - Wellington Emergency Response Team
    Website or Facebook
  • NZRT9 - Upper Hutt Community Rescue 
  • NZRT18 - Hutt City Emergency Response Team