Pete Donaldson, Tauranga
Queen's Service Medal for services to the Coastguard

"A lot of what is happening in this country wouldn't be possible if it weren't for volunteers."

Those are the words of Pete Donaldson, who has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal on this year's New Year Honours list for services to the Coastguard.

But when it comes to recognising his own efforts of more than 23 years of voluntary work for the Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard, Donaldson is a little more reserved.

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The Tauranga local's first thought when he received notice of the honour was to decline.

He says the Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard is an organisation where no one person should stand out, and there are "a lot of good people involved".

"I'm not really one for a medal, so I was going to say 'thanks, but no'," he says.

But after speaking with his family, reflecting on the amazing work everyone at the local Coastguard does, and wanting to gain awareness for Coastguard New Zealand, he has accepted the honour.

Donaldson is a qualified training officer, and over his 23 years with the organisation he has trained more than 100 crew to Coastguard New Zealand operational level and some to skipper level.

He also helped the Maketu Coastguard reach rescue unit standard, which involved a 100km round trip from his home near Katikati every Monday night, and in 2008 he helped the Maketu Coastguard become an affiliated New Zealand Coastguard unit.

Donaldson continues to volunteer as a senior skipper, is the maintenance officer for Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard's two rescue boats, and has been a board member since 2007. He was recently made a life member for his service.

Donaldson says he has always had "a lot of time for volunteers" and gives credit to his wife and sons for always allowing him the time to be able to give to others.

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"I've always had the mindset you should give to the society you live in."