Lifesavers celebrated at excellence awards

The Surf Life Saving NZ Awards recognise volunteers who have gone above and beyond. File photo/ SunLive.

A busy and successful season between the surf lifesaving patrol flags and at lifesaving sport competitions will be celebrated at Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Zespri Bay of Plenty & Coromandel Awards of Excellence.

Volunteers and athletes who have been named as finalists and winners will be recognised at a ceremony on Saturday, July 10, at Tauranga Race course in Greerton.

The annual awards recognise surf lifesaving volunteers who have gone above and beyond, who have dedicated many hours to their club, or have excelled in their chosen lifesaving sport competitions.

The volunteers come from surf lifesaving clubs at Hot Water Beach, Tairua, Pauanui, Onemana, Whangamata, Whiritoa, Waihi Beach, Mt Maunganui, Omanu Beach, Papamoa, Maketu, Pukehina, Whakatane and Opotiki.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Lifesaving manager Chaz Gibbons Campbell says it has been a very busy season for the volunteer surf lifeguards.

“Covid-19 certainly threw a spanner in the works in the lead up to the season but the clubs & their volunteer surf lifeguards handled it well and were able to continue patrols through the summer season,” says Chaz.

“We didn’t see the predicted increase in visitor numbers however we did see some changes in user patterns and there were still a large number of rescues, as well as challenging first aids which kept lifeguards busy.”

Surf Life Saving New Zealand SLSNZ Eastern Region Sport Manager Jackson Edwards says the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty Clubs enjoyed a very successful season of lifesaving sport as well.

“It was devastating for all athletes, coaches and supporters to see the cancellation of our National Championships, but on the flip side it was great that a large number of our local and regional events were able to go ahead with some solid numbers taking part throughout the region, and let’s get excited to make next season's events the best yet,” says Jackson.

Surf Life Saving NZ Awards of Excellence are held every year in each SLSNZ region to recognise and celebrate the many club members putting in considerable time, effort and skills at a grass-roots level to make sure Kiwis who head to the beach get home safe.

The regional awards culminate in the National Awards of Excellence which will be held on September 18 in Wellington.

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