New radio and mapping equipment for Omarama Search and Rescue following Meridian Energy grant

Search and rescue operations in the Upper Waitaki and Mackenzie Basin area will be safer and more accurate following a grant from Meridian Energy’s Waitaki Community Fund.

Omarama Search and Rescue has received $8000 from Meridian to purchase new mapping software and radio communications equipment which will enable better detection of people who are lost and will make search and rescue operations more efficient.

Constable Nayland Smith says the majority of areas the organisation provides services to have little or no cell phone coverage and radio coverage is also limited.

“The new handsets for our radios will send a signal back to the incident management team showing on the mapping software the exact location of the search and rescue member, in real time. This will ensure that an area is correctly searched and it’s also safer for our volunteers, as we’ll know exactly where they are at any given time,” says Mr Smith.

The Duntroon and District Development Association has also received $2000 from the Meridian Energy Waitaki Community Fund for a new carved archway to be installed in the entranceway to the Duntroon Wetland.

The Association has managed the wetland on behalf of the wider Duntroon community for several years. In that time they have developed walking tracks, willows have been removed and plantings have been maintained. 

Mike Gray from the Association says “Meridian Energy has supported our wetland project from day one. Without this support it would not have even started.”

In total, Meridian has awarded more than $78,000 to thirteen projects in the latest round of funding from its Waitaki Community Fund. Other projects to receive funding are:

  • Waitaki Valley Preschool - $10,000 for the installation of a new kitchen
  • Twizel Community Trust - $6,500 for new floor coverings.
  • Residents Association of Omarama - $9,632 for two new heat pumps for the Omarama Community Hall.
  • Glenavy Mobile Kindergarten - $4,000 for one new heat pump for the building that houses the kindy.
  • New Zealand Alpine Club - $3,000 to purchase a defibrillator for Unwin Lodge.
  • Te Whare Mahana Twizel Cultural Centre - $10,000 towards insulation, a heat pump ,upgrade of electrical wiring and replacement of switchboards
  • Papakaio School 150th Celebration Committee - $5,000 to print a book covering the last 25 years of the school.
  • Kurow JAB Rugby Club - $5,000 for new rugby training equipment.
  • Duntroon School Board of Trustees - $5,000 to replace the pool filter.
  • Kurow Golf Club Management Committee - $2,500 to replace pop-up sprinklers at the golf club.
  • Papakaio Community Hall Trust - $7,500 to purchase tables and chairs for the hall.

Meridian’s community funds support local projects in the areas near our generation assets. It’s one way we can recognise the importance of local communities to our hydro and wind operations.

To find out more about the Meridian community funds visit