Mount Maunganui and Whangamata have taken out one of the most coveted awards at the 2016 Zespri Bay of Plenty/Coromandel Awards of Excellence last night.
They claimed the Zespri Club of the Year title for the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel areas respectively, also receiving a $5,000 cheque each from Zespri.
Part of Surf Life Saving's partnership with Zespri, which was formed in February, sees the top clubs in Gisborne, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel awarded $5,000 from Zespri to spend on lifesaving equipment.
Zespri General Manager Grower and External Relations Dave Courtney explains around 85 percent of Zespri Kiwifruit is grown in the regions served by these surf clubs. "Supporting this award and providing free training for local lifeguards is our way of recognising the people who do so much for our communities, keeping our beaches safe for everyone to enjoy," he says.
Last night's celebration of surf lifesaving took place at the Trinity Wharf in Tauranga with around 200 people in attendance.
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 Lifeguard Service, Omanu Beach, Papamoa, Maketu, Pukehina, Whakatane and Opotiki.
Together, they spent over 55,000 hours on patrol, saving 541 people from life threatening situations in their communities.
In 2014, a new awards format was introduced to reflect the growth in lifesaving in both the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty areas. The lifesaving awards are now split between the two respective areas which allows for the recognition of more volunteers.
As well as Zespri Club of the Year, some of the top awards included Pacific Medicare Lifeguard of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Rescue of the Year.
Bay of Plenty Lifeguard of the Year was awarded to Shaun Smith from Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club.
The purpose of this award is to recognise a member who had 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.
Club and Member Development Manager for the Eastern Region Chaz Gibbons-Campbell says Shaun is a great lifeguard with years of experience under his belt. He is heavily involved with numerous aspects of surf lifesaving within the club and region. He acted as a patrol captain and completed over 100 hours on patrol during the season. As head of the Papamoa callout squad, he has also been involved in five search and rescue operations.
"Shaun is highly regarded, leads by example and is always encouraging the development and involvement of his fellow surf lifeguards, both young and old," he says.
Coromandel Lifeguard of the Year was awarded to Christiaan Maarhuis from Trust Waikato Waihi Beach Surf Life Saving Club for the second year in a row.
Christiaan volunteered over 50 hours on patrol during the season plus another 83 hours of event lifeguarding on top of his roles of instructor and examiner. He was a head instructor at the Intermediate Lifeguard School, has instructed many lifeguards thought the season and conducted IRB crew and driver training as well as board rescue training.
Mr Gibbons-Campbell says Christiaan always takes on a great deal of work and really leads by example. "His commitment and dedication to his club, region and surf lifesaving generally is outstanding, especially considering he works full time and has a young family," he says.
Volunteer of the Year for the Bay of Plenty was awarded to Donal Boyle from Omanu Beach Surf Life Saving Club and to Susan Stewart from Trust Waikato Waihi Beach Surf Life Saving Club in the Coromandel.
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 season.
Mr Gibbons-Campbell says it takes a lot of commitment to reach this level of nomination and both Donal and Susan are very deserving of the recognition.
Shaun, Christiaan, Donal and Susan will go on to be finalists for the national Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence which will be held in Auckland in September.
Mr Gibbons-Campbell says there were some fantastic rescues throughout the season and Rescue of the Year award was very close but was taken out by Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty and Tairua in the Coromandel.
Whakatane's rescue took place on December 7, 2015 and involved new lifeguard Keld Hunia demonstrated his First Aid skills when he was umpiring a local game of touch and one of players collapsed after colliding with another. Tairua's winning rescue took place on December 28, 2015 and involved a patient collapsing as they were exiting the water and lifeguards had to conduct CPR.
There was also a host of other lifesaving, sport and service awards presented on the night including the Harrison Mundy Memorial Scholarship Award (established last year) which was presented to the Eastern Region's top Rookie, Ella Higgins from Waihi Beach. She participated in her club's Rookie programme throughout the season, attended the Eastern Region Rookie Challenge and completed patrols with lifeguards at the club.
Mr Gibbons-Campbell says Ella is a very enthusiastic Rookie and it's great to be able to recognise the region's up and coming lifeguards with this award.
Bay of Plenty lifesaving awards
Pacific Medicare Lifeguard of the Year: Shaun Smith, Papamoa
Patrol Captain of the Year: Shaun Smith, Papamoa
Instructor of the Year: Garry King, Mount Maunganui
Examiner of the Year: Danielle Shepherd, Mount Maunganui
Volunteer of the Year: Donal Boyle, Omanu Beach
Rescue of the Year: Whakatane SLSC, 7th December 2015
Pacific Medicare Patrol Club of the Year: Maketu
Zespri Club of the Year: Mount Maunganui
Coromandel lifesaving awards
Pacific Medicare Lifeguard of the Year: Christiaan Maarhuis, Waihi Beach
Patrol Captain of the Year: Daniel Gordon, Pauanui
Instructor of the Year: Lucy Scown, Waihi Beach
Examiner of the Year: Spencer Raymond, Pauanui
Volunteer of the Year: Susan Stewart, Waihi Beach
Rescue of the Year: Tairua SLSC, 28th December 2015
Pacific Medicare Patrol Club of the Year: Tairua
Zespri Club of the Year: Whangamata
Eastern Region Rookie Lifeguard of the Year: Ella Higgins, Waihi Beach
Emerging Coach of the Year: Jason Watts, Papamoa
Coach of the Year: Matt Cairns, Papamoa
McLeod Cranes Surf Official of the Year: Ross Merrett, Papamoa
Sports Team of the Year: Whangamata Barrys U23 Men's Boat Crew (Brandon Dromgool, Josh Kerridge, Sam Stockley, Lyndon Vickers, Andrew Jujunovich)
U14 Female Sportsperson of the Year: Isabella Akroyd, Mount Maunganui
U14 Male Sportsperson of the Year Daniel Shanahan, Mount Maunganui
U16 Female Sportsperson of the Year: Tessa Bradley, Mount Maunganui
U16 Male Sportsperson of the Year: Lochlainn O'Connor, Mount Maunganui
U19 Female Sportsperson of the Year: Libby Bradley, Mount Maunganui
U19 Male Sportsperson of the Year: Kane Sefton, Mount Maunganui
Open Female Sportsperson of the Year: Jessica Miller, Mount Maunganui
Open Male Sportsperson of the Year: Adam Simpson, Mount Maunganui
Masters Female Sportsperson of the Year: Jol McGarvey, Omanu Beach
Masters Male Sportsperson of the Year: Ian Glover, Omanu Beach
Individual International Sports Performance: Olivia Eaton, Mount Maunganui
Team International Sports Performance: Mount Maunganui U19 Men's Board Rescue Team (Hamish Miller & Kane Sefton)
Eastern Region Service Awards
Christopher Emmett, Omanu Beach
Donal Boyle, Omanu Beach
Jason Carswell, Omanu Beach
Stephen Williams, Pukehina
Kevin Barugh, Pukehina
Eastern Region Distinguished Service Awards
Danielle Shepherd, Mount Maunganui
Simon Oldham, Omanu Beach
Dennis Mundy, Omanu Beach
Zespri Club of the Year for Bay of Plenty, Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service
Zespri Club of the Year for Coromandel, Whangamata SUrf Life Saving Club
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823