Mr Rhett Emery, NSSP Coordinator, New Zealand Search and Rescue Council

New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) provides national strategic governance and leadership to New Zealand search and rescue. Rhett is part of the NZSAR Secretariat which provides strategic coordination for SAR in New Zealand through:

  • maintaining NZSAR’s key documentation
  • sustaining strong domestic and international SAR linkages
  • monitoring New Zealand’s domestic and international SAR obligations
  • responding to SAR issues as they arise
  • providing relevant advice.

While the Secretariat does not have an operational SAR role, we help improve the overall co-ordination, cohesion, capability and leadership of search and rescue by working alongside the key organisations and individuals providing search and rescue services throughout New Zealand.

Mr Rich Hungerford, Director/Senior Instructor, Bush Lore Australia

Rich Hungerford is a former Australian SAS soldier who now teaches survival, tracking and bushcraft skills at his Bush Lore Australia Survival School in Queensland, Australia.

With over twenty-five years of professional survival and tracking training and experience Rich has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and been there and done it. Accordingly, survival is not just a hobby or an interest for Rich, it is what he does.

He successfully blends the unconventional military, the traditional bushcraft and the naturalist perspectives in a way that offers course participants access to a unique depth of knowledge in bushcraft, tracking and survival.

Rich continues to explore his passion for the natural environment and enjoys passing on his extensive experience to others. He lives in rural Australia with his wife and daughter. More information is available at www.bushloreaustralia.com.au

Assistant Commissioner Rob McNeil, Assistant Commissioner Regional Operations, Fire & Rescue NSW

Assistant Commissioner Rob McNeil has been a member of Fire and Rescue NSW for 33 years and in the position of Assistant Commissioner Regional Operations leads the management of three Regional Area Commands consisting of 9 Zone Commands with 164 fire stations, 300 Permanent firefighters and 2,213 On Call firefighters.

During the period from 2009 – 2010 Rob was the Assistant Director of Specialised Operations and played an active role in progressing Fire and Rescue’s hazardous material and Urban Search and Rescue. Rob has been the Incident Controller at numerous emergencies including the Australian Task Force leader for the response to the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami.

He received an Australian Fire Service Medal in 2010 for his contributions to emergency management of hazardous materials incidents.

Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks, Research Fellow, National Centre for Ports and Shipping at the University of Tasmania

Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks is a Research Fellow in the National Centre for Ports and Shipping at the University of Tasmania. Ben has 20 years of experience as a trainer/educator, researcher and consultant. Ben’s research focus relates to assessing and changing safety cultures, decision-making, and the measurement of human performance.

He works with a range of stakeholders including regulators, emergency management agencies and private organisations. He builds measurement tools, training systems, technology prototypes and focuses on improving efficiency, increasing safety and managing risk in high tempo, high consequence working environments.

Professor Jonathan Roberts, Professor in Robotics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology

Jonathan is Professor in Robotics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). His main research interests are in the areas of Field Robotics and in particular autonomy. He has also recently begun research in the area of Medical Robotics. Jonathan was a co-inventor of the UAV Challenge, an international flying robot competition that sees teams search for a lost bushwalker using autonomous robotic aircraft.

Before joining QUT, Jonathan was the Research Director of CSIRO’s Autonomous Systems Laboratory. Jonathan is a Past President of the Australian Robotics & Automation Association and currently serves as a Senior Editor of the IEEE Journal of Robotics and Automation Letters.

Mr Henry van Tuel, President, Coastguard New Zealand

Henry is the current Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation President. He is also an active Coastguard volunteer with Coastguard Hawke’s Bay where he is a rescue vessel master and Coastguard instructor. Henry has also been involved in the recent review of the Coastguard Rescue Vessel Crew Training Syllabus.

Being involved with Coastguard New Zealand at multiple levels has given Henry a unique perspective, from a national governance level through to a person who actually delivers training to crew. As a rescue vessel master he is also acutely aware of the need to have well trained crew who are able to operate safely and effectively in New Zealand’s challenging marine environment.

Ms Louise Proctor, Secretariat, Australian National SAR Council

Ms Louise Proctor has been the Program Manager, Search and Rescue Engagement since 2013. Her responsibilities include management of Australia’s National Search and Rescue (SAR) Council that is responsible for Australia’s national SAR arrangements. This includes the engagement approach with each State/Territory Police Service and the Australian Defence Force to ensure the continued effectiveness of Australia’s SAR system in an area that encompasses 53 million square kilometres of land and sea.

Louise is also responsible for the management of Australia’s regional SAR engagement programme focused on the 10 countries that adjoin Australia’s SAR region. This includes regional technical capability development programmes currently in place with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Mauritius.

Louise holds a Master of Commerce and Administration in strategic planning and stakeholder management and also holds dual Bachelor degrees in Commerce and Administration (Honours) and the Arts; Major in Psychology.