Bethune raising funds for coastguard

Eco-warrior Pete Bethune is heading to Southland to fight for a cause close to his heart and to spread his conservation message.

Bethune has left his crack conservation commando team back at base and instead, the founder of Earthrace Conservation, will be joined by his brother Barry as the pair try and raise funds for the Riverton Coastguard.

Southlanders will have the opportunity to be the first in the world to get a taste of the renowned conservationist's new 10-episode The Operatives reality TV show.

The series details the high-risk operations - including one show shot in Africa and nine in Costa Rica - undertaken by Pete Bethune and his team of former military personnel.

The event next month will allow audience members to watch an exclusive screening of an episode focusing on illegal fishing before it airs on New Zealand television in June or July.

The audience will also get to hear Bethune talk about his conservation battles in far flung corners of the world.

The Riverton Coastguard holds a special place for the Bethunes.

They were there to help bring Pete's nephew, Shaun, 23, and Lindsay Cullen, home after they died in Foveaux Strait in 2012.

Pete Bethune said the incident tore the family up.

"As a family we never had to deal with death but then to have a 23-year-old ripped out of your family is really heartbreaking," he said.

In time, the family have been able to reflect and there have been some positives emerge from the devastating loss.

"One of those is Barry's efforts raising awareness and funds for the Riverton Coastguard," Pete said.

Pete Bethune said he also had a long-standing respect for the coastguard organisation.

"I've trained with coastguard units in New Zealand and had my boat escorted and towed by the coastguard," he said.

The extreme conservationist has also raised funds for the organisation in the past.

The evening with Pete Bethune - living on the hard edge of conservation, will be held on June 13 at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club and all proceeds will go to the Riverton Coastguard.

What: An evening with Pete Bethune – living on the hard edge of conservation.

When: 7pm, Friday June 13.

Where: Corinthian Convention Centre at Invercargill Workingmen's Club

Cost: $20 – door sales Contact: Allan "Dusty" Duston 0274355872 or Noel Anderson 0274535365.


The Southland Times