Surf Life Saving members in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel got together tonight to celebrate all that they have achieved over a bumper summer season at this year's Awards of Excellence.
The celebration of surf lifesaving took place at Trinity Wharf in Tauranga and was attended by around 140 people.
Surf Life Saving Clubs in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel areas include Trust Waikato Hot Water Beach, Trust Waikato Tairua, Trust Waikato Pauanui, Trust Waikato Onemana, Trust Waikato Whangamata, Trust Waikato Whiritoa, Trust Waikato Waihi Beach, Mount Maunganui, Omanu, Papamoa, Maketu, Pukehina, Whakatane and Opotiki.
Together, they undertook 455 rescues in the 2014/15 season, up from 333 rescues in the 2013/14 season.
Sarah Leppard, Club and Membership Development Manager for the Eastern Region, says "the 2014/15 season was a big one for the clubs in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel and tonight was the night for them to be recognised for their hard work, helping to keep their local communities safe at the beach."
The lifesaving awards were split between the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel to allow for the recognition of more volunteers across the two regions. Two of the night's top awards were Lifeguard of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
Lifeguard of the Year for Bay of Plenty was awarded to Thomas Yule from Omanu Surf Life Saving Club.
The purpose of this award is to recognise a member who has made an outstanding contribution to the delivery and development of drowning prevention services for SLSNZ. It is aimed at active surf lifeguards undertaking lifeguarding duties.
Ms Leppard says Thomas shows great leadership and support to both younger and older members of his patrol team. He was heavily involved in the search operation for Jack Dixon at Mount Maunganui along with a number of other local searches, rescues and call-out events throughout the season. He has also completed the BP Leaders for Life Programme.
"Thomas has also stepped up as an IRB instructor this season, acted as an event lifeguard and mentored a number of other members within the club. He has also undertaken a number of personal development opportunities, including leading the K9 surf rescue dog trial," she says.
Lifeguard of the Year for the Coromandel was awarded to Christiaan Maarhuis from Trust Waikato Waihi Beach. Christiaan volunteered 50 patrol hours during the season, on top of his role as Waihi Beach Lifeguard Coordinator, member of the Coromandel Local Lifesaving Committee and he also acted on the club's sub-committees.
Ms Leppard says Christiaan has taken on a great deal of work including instructing, mentoring, examining, event guarding and more. "He really has lead by example," she says.
Volunteer of the Year for the Bay of Plenty was awarded to Naomi Davoren from Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club.
The purpose of this award is to recognise an outstanding member who has made a significant volunteer contribution to enhancing surf lifesaving within their local area during the 2014/2015 season.
Ms Leppard says Naomi is a valuable member of the club. She has
been a Board member for three seasons, a member of the Junior Surf
Committee, a member of the Sport Committee and a key
person in Papamoa's Oceans campaigns. "Last season, Naomi volunteered 35 hours on patrol as well as coaching Junior Surf every Sunday," she says.
Volunteer of the Year for the Coromandel was awarded to Rob Ford from Trust Waikato Tairua Surf Life Saving Club.
Ms Leppard says Rob is not only the Chairman of the club, but he has also stepped up significantly this year in every domain. "He was heavily involved in the club's junior surf programme, attends the local chair's meetings and has been the driving force in the club's building project. "He is a mentor to many and a leader to all and he is truly deserving of this award," she says.
Thomas, Christiaan, Naomi and Rob will go on to be finalists in the national Awards of Excellence, being held in Wellington in September.
Rescue of the Year for the Bay of Plenty was awarded to Mount Maunganui for their part in the search for Jack Dixon on October 1, 2014 and in the Coromandel, it was awarded to Pauanui for a rescue by off duty lifeguards on April 12.
A new award created by Allan and Hayley Mundy, the Harrison Mundy Memorial Scholarship Award, was presented to the Eastern Region's top Rookie Leon Castle from Papamoa SLSC. He participated in his club's Rookie programme throughout the season, attended the Eastern Region Rookie Challenge and completed patrols with lifeguards within the club.
Ms Leppard says "Leon is a deserving and committed Rookie and it is fabulous to be able to reward and recognise our upcoming lifeguards."
Overall Club of the Year was awarded to Omanu Beach in the Bay of Plenty and to Trust Waikato Waihi Beach in the Coromandel.
Bay of Plenty award winners:
• Lifeguard of the Year: Thomas Yule, Omanu
• Patrol Captain of the Year: Kent Jarman, Mount Maunganui
• Instructor of the Year: Gary King, Mount Maunganui
• Examiner of the Year: Gary King, Mount Maunganui
• Volunteer of the Year: Naomi Davoren, Papamoa
• Rescue of the Year: Mount Maunganui, October 1, 2014, Jack Dixon search
• Innovation of the Year: Thomas Yule, K9 Surf Rescue Dogs
• Patrol Club of the Year: Omanu Beach
• Overall Club of the Year: Omanu Beach
Coromandel award winners:
• Lifeguard of the Year: Christiaan Maarhuis, Trust Waikato
Waihi Beach LGS
• Patrol Captain of the Year: Thomas Richards, Trust Waikato Tairua SLSC
• Instructor of the Year: Eden Bray, Trust Waikato Whangamata SLSC
• Examiner of the Year: Matt Kerr, Trust Waikato Tairua SLSC
• Volunteer of the Year: Rob Ford, Trust Waikato Tairua SLSC
• Rescue of the Year: Pauanui, April 12, 2015, off duty rescue of four people from a rip
• Innovation of the Year: Trust Waikato Waihi Beach holiday programme
• Patrol Club of the Year: Trust Waikato Whiritoa LGS
• Overall Club of the Year: Trust Waikato Waihi Beach LGS
Bay of Plenty/Coromandel award winners:
• Emerging Coach of the Year: Gary Waller, Whakatane
• Coach of the Year: Justin Martin, Papamoa
• Official of the Year: Ross Merrett, Papamoa
• Sports Team of the Year: Mount Maunganui Under 19 men's canoe crew and Trust Waikato Whangamata U19 men's surf boat crew
• Sportsperson of the Year: U14 female: Isabella Akroyd, Mount Maunganui
• Sportsperson of the Year: U14 male: Daniel Shanahan, Mount Maunganui
• Sportsperson of the Year: U16 female: Libby Bradley, Mount Maunganui
• Sportsperson of the Year: U16 male: Daniel Barron, Mount Maunganui
• Sportsperson of the Year: U19 female: Madison Kidd, Papamoa
• Sportsperson of the Year: U19 male: Ben Johnston, Papamoa
• Sportsperson of the Year: open female: Natalie Peat, Papamoa
• Sportsperson of the Year: open male: Max Beattie, Omanu
• Sportsperson of the Year: masters female: Naomi Davoren, Papamoa
• Sportsperson of the Year: masters male: Ian Glover, Omanu
• International Sports Performance: Olivia Eaton, Mount Maunganui
Honours and Awards:
Regional Service Awards:
• Simon Oldham, Omanu
• Denny Enright, Omanu
• Don Colbourne, Papamoa
• Justin Martin, Papamoa
• Brent Warner, Mt Maunganui
Regional Distinguished Service Awards
• Stu Lowth, Papamoa
• Ross Merrett, Papamoa
• Brent Warner, Mt Maunganui
Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823