Coastguard North Kaipara president Peter Flood presents a farewell bouquet to long-serving volunteer Dorothy Quaife

On the air for safety on water

by Andy Bryenton

Long-standing volunteer and Coast Guard radio operator Dorothy Quaife has at last formally retired after many years of public service; it was an emotional farewell at Coastguard North Kaipara’s meeting on October 2.

Dorothy knew everyone on the water and could recognise voices without needing call-signs,” says Coast Guard secretary James Foster. “Grateful boaties would frequently deliver fish at her door.”

Dorothy started taking radio calls from her own home in 1969, with limited technology. She quickly became known as ‘the voice of the North Kaipara Harbour’. In 1993, when the local Coastguard North Kaipara unit was founded, Dorothy continued her role. This equates to a half-century of service to maritime safety. When asked to recall her best moments from those years, she simply replied, “Every day! Every day!”

In 2017, Dorothy stepped down from operating radio communications, as a centralised base brought things together in Auckland. Coastguard now manages communications on the Kaipara Harbour (channels 61 and 66) through the dedicated Operations Centre at the Marine Rescue Centre in Mechanics Bay, near the city’s port. At last week’s meeting Peter Flood, president of Coastguard North Kaipara, thanked Dorothy for her exceptional record of service to boaties on the Kaipara harbour.