Kara cottons on to Coastguard

16:00, Mar 18 2014
Melody Lui-Webster
LEADING LADY: Kara Gribble, 33, has just become Maraetai Coastguard’s first female crew chief which is a far cry from her day job as a textile buyer.

Kara Gribble lives a double life.

From nine to five she's a textile buyer in the heart of the city.

But after hours the 33-year-old is leading the Maraetai Coastguard as its first female crew chief.

It's an honour that came much quicker than the Maraetai resident thought it would.

"I've only been with the unit for just over one year," she says.

"I wanted to get involved in the community and there was a sign up and I thought ‘that is so me' because I love being in the water so I gave it a go and can't get enough."


The first thing she noticed was the terrible material the uniforms are made from, which she quickly went about changing.

"It was polyester and we needed to get some cotton in there. The guys were like ‘oh no' but so far they have liked the changes I've slipped in."

Kara says everyone at the unit has been very supportive as she has learnt the ropes.

"Everyone was lovely. It wasn't a boys' club or anything like that. We are just a big family," she says.

As crew chief she is responsible for the whole unit, getting the crews together and making sure everything runs smoothly.

"When I first joined I wanted to be the first female skipper.

"I never thought I would be crew chief this quickly. It's great to know they have faith in me."

Kara says she would trade in the world of fashion to work fulltime on the boat if she could.

"It is the best office, if only it paid.

"I really enjoy going out at night on the boat. The first time it was like ‘wow', it is just pitch black and you are speeding through the dark completely relying on your navigation man.

"It's an adrenaline rush."

To join the Maraetai Coastguard call 536 7105.

Eastern Courier