Our best volunteer lifeguards recognised






Dedicated volunteer surf lifeguards, coaches, instructors, and athletes have been celebrated at Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Awards of Excellence, which took place at Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club on Saturday, July 30. The awards honour the volunteers who have devoted numerous hours to keeping our beaches and people safe and lifesaving athletes who have shone in competition. Avan Polo, Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Manager, says, “I’d like to thank all our dedicated volunteers who have given their time and energy to keep people safe at Bay of Plenty and Coromandel beaches this year. Clubs in the region did a fantastic job keeping patrols going under the challenging conditions and changing restrictions that Covid-19 presented.” Over the 2021-22 season lifeguards put in more than 50,000 patrol hours across Bay of Plenty and Coromandel beaches. There were 162 rescues undertaken, 412 people were assisted back to shore and eight searches were carried out. Also, 588 people were given first aid treatment by lifeguards and 26,498 preventative actions were implemented to keep beachgoers out of trouble. Dominic Sutton, from Whangamata Surf Lifesaving Club, receives the accolade of Coromandel Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year. Dominic contributed over 100 hours patrolling to Whangamata as well as further patrols at Raglan and Northern Coromandel beaches. As a senior patrol member Dominic was able to, and willingly, provided extensive support to patrol operations. This included IRB training opportunities, first aid scenarios and lifeguard mentoring. Off the beach, Dominic is actively involved on local and regional committees, taking part in and facilitating regional events and is passionate about lifeguard development. Chaz Region Gibbons-campbell, Eastern Lifesaving Manager, says “Dominic leads by example and is always looking for ways to increase member engagement and retention. He is a great lifeguard, carrying out his duties to a high standard.” 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 grassroots 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 17. Bay of Plenty & Coromandel Supreme Awards: Bay of Plenty Volunteer of the Year, Merehini Meads, Maketu SLSC Coromandel Volunteer of the Year, Kevin Thorburn, Onemana SLSC Bay of Plenty Overall Club of the Year, Maketu SLSC Coromandel Overall Club of the Year, Whangamata SLSC Coromandel Lifesaving Awards: Patrol Support Person of the Year, Sharlene Manukau, Waihi Beach LGS Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year, Dominic Sutton, Whangamata SLSC U19 Emerging Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year, Rian Butler, Waihi Beach LGS Patrol Captain of the Year, Dominic Sutton, Whangamata SLSC Instructor of the Year, Brianna Norris, Whangamata SLSC Examiner of the Year, Georgia Eldridge, Waihi Beach LGS Rescue of the Year, Rescue January 5, 2022, Pauanui/tairua SLSC Regional Lifeguard of the Year, Stella Reid, Pauanui SLSC Beach Education Instructor of the Year, Josh Coombridge & Laura Clark, Raglan SLSC Patrol Club of the Year, Whangamata SLSC Bay of Plenty & Coromandel Lifesaving Sport Awards: Emerging Official of the Year, Fiona Swain, Waihi Beach LS Official of the Year, Caroline Bird, Mount Maunganui LS Emerging Coach of the Year, Jake Cowdrey, Papamoa SLSC Volunteer Coach of the Year, Katrina Madill, Mount Maunganui LS Sports Team of the Year, Two and a Half Men IRB Race Team (Thomas Swain, Rian Butler and Finn Miller), Waihi Beach LS International Individual Sport Performance of the Year, Harrison Bond, Omanu SLSC Bay of Plenty & Coromandel Service Awards: Regional Service Award recipients include: Greg Bowen, Tairua SLSC, Kelly Pinner, Pauanui SLSC, Spencer Raymond, Pauanui SLSC, Jock Rosie, Pauanui SLSC, Stuart Upjohn, Pauanui SLSC, Laura Beanland-stephens, Tairua SLSC, Mathew Kerr, Tairua SLSC, Rachelle Bright, Whangamata SLSC, Nathan Hight, Whangamata SLSC. Regional Distinguished Service Award: Sean Ridler, Tairua SLSC, Nathan Hight, Whangamata SLSC. ■ See our website for the full list of recipients.