Zespri today announced it will be the Primary Regional Partner for Surf Life Saving New Zealand in Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Gisborne, offering free lifesaving training for local lifeguards.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Manager Chris Emmett says that with 1,200 lifeguards from the 19 clubs in this region, offering training at no cost to participants will make a huge difference to beach safety. Training courses typically cost hundreds of dollars and the cost has until now been borne by individual lifeguards and clubs.
"We rely on the support of our partners to do what we do. In a typical season, lifeguards rescue 1,200 people nationwide and prevent thousands more from getting to the point of needing rescue in the first place so this support will literally help us save lives."
Zespri Chief Operating Officer Simon Limmer explains around 85 percent of Zespri Kiwifruit is grown in these regions and this partnership is Zespri's way of giving back to the communities who support this industry.
"We will provide free training opportunities for all local lifeguards in the Eastern Region over the next three years, as well as providing rescue tubes and additional equipment to the Zespri Clubs of Year. Surf lifeguards save around 450 lives a year in our region and provide a vital service to the families who live and work in our regions.
"Kiwifruit is a large contributor to our local economy and our beaches are such an important part of life in these coastal regions. This is Zespri's way of thanking the communities who've helped build our industry's success - by doing our part to keep the beaches safe for everyone to enjoy," says Mr Limmer.
The partnership was launched at an event at the Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service clubrooms tonight, with representatives from central and local government joining together with the kiwifruit industry and Surf Life Saving community.
Zespri will contribute $400,000 over three years to this initiative in the Eastern Region, as well as supporting Surf Life Saving New Zealand as a National Partner.
The free training on offer to Eastern Region lifeguards includes inflatable rescue boat (IRB) training, Patrol Captain and Intermediate Lifeguard courses. A number of scholarships will also be available for Surf Life Saving's National Lifeguard School and BP Leaders for Life development programmes. Winners of the Zespri Club of the Year will also receive additional lifesaving equipment, with $5,000 of equipment going to each of the three winning clubs across the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Gisborne.
Mr Emmett says the partnership will have a real impact on the training and development of lifeguards and will enable Surf Life Saving in the Eastern Region to provide a better service to the local community, including many of those involved in the kiwifruit industry. "With Zespri's strong presence in the region, it's great to know that their support will have such a direct impact."
About Zespri Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.57 billion in 2014/15, Zespri is one of the world's most successful horticulture marketing companies and the Zespri brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 350 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
On behalf of our 2,500 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, Zespri manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of Zespri Green, Zespri SunGold, Zespri Organic, Zespri Gold and Zespri Sweet Green Kiwifruit.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO Paul Dalton (left) and Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer celebrate their new sponsorship.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand chairman Geoff Hamilton (left) and Zespri deputy chairman Bruce Cameron. Photos by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823