If it wasn't for a raffle ticket, Joanne Wills would never have become Hawke's Bay's first female coastguard skipper.
She joined Coastguard Hawke's Bay as a volunteer in 2014, prompted into helping them out by a colleague who tried to sell her a raffle ticket.
Having spent a lot of time on boats growing up, she thought it could be a natural fit for her to give back to the community.
She had no idea how far it'd take her.
In March, she successfully completed her practical master assessment, the final step in what she says is a "challenging process" which also includes passing three written examinations.
Wills remains modest about the achievement, saying it "could have been anyone".
"But I happened to be the one who was ready at the time to become skipper."
Over the years, she says she has stayed because of the crew, the experience and skills they gain, as well as the privilege she gets of getting out on the water and helping people.
A need for more skippers prompted the plunge.
"I thought it would be a good time to put in the effort."
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Wills joins long-standing skipper, Henry van Tuel, and Mike Kiri.
Van Tuel says it is "great".
"We haven't had a lot of female crew members over the years, so I think it is just great and shows greater diversity and a much more inclusive feel for the organisation."
They currently have three female crew. "It makes us more representative of what society is like."
Last year, Coastguard performed nearly 3000 rescues to bring 6774 New Zealanders home safely. In Hawke's Bay, van Tuel estimates they do about 10-12 police jobs a year and anything between 20-30 "assist jobs".
While the majority of their time is spent training and towing boats, Wills says they are prepared to carry out search and rescues. For her, "unfortunately, it is often the worst" jobs that stand out.
The search for a diver who tragically died off Waipatiki Beach in May happened to be the first job as skipper for Wills.
"As a unit, some of the best jobs are always the ones where we manage to rescue someone. It's really good to find someone alive out there."
Coastguard Hawke's Bay has 10 radio operators and 15 "wet crew" - including trainees, operational crew and three skippers - all of whom are volunteers.
The national entity recently ran its annual appeal for funds, from October 20 to November 3 to help meet the $20 million it needs a year to operate.
Van Tuel says as a local charity, fundraising was "critically important" as about 80-odd per cent of for the region's coastguard came from the public.
Money raised from the public is used for everything from maintaining rescue vessels and on-shore services to training volunteers and helping them to continue their life-saving efforts in providing professional marine and rescue services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.
During Christmas time, they sell raffle tickets, but also have businesses and members who help.
"I think a lot of people assume that we are supported a heck of a lot by the government, but the reality is we don't."
Just over 11 per cent of Coastguard funding comes from the government with the remaining 89 per cent ($18 million), having to be raised by Coastguard and its volunteers around the country.