Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence winners announced

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Volunteering over 50 hours on patrol and another 80 hours of event lifeguarding, coupled with a can-do attitude, has won a Hamilton man the honour of Lifeguard of the Year.

Christiaan Maarhuis from Waihi Beach Surf Life Saving Club was presented the award tonight at the 2016 Surf Life Saving New Zealand Awards of Excellence at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland.

Every year, awards are given to Surf Life Saving members to officially recognise them for their hard work and dedication to Surf Life Saving in New Zealand. Last season, lifeguards saved over 1,500 people from life-threatening situations.

The NZ Lottery Grants Board Lifeguard of the Year award is the pinnacle of surf lifesaving in New Zealand and highlights the skill, experience and dedication of the lifeguards who give up their time to make our beaches safer.

Christiaan has instructed many lifeguards throughout the season including Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) and rescue board training along with being head instructor at the Intermediate Lifeguard School. He also took part in the National Lifeguard School where lifeguards can gain their Advanced Lifeguard Award, the highest award for surf lifesaving in New Zealand, and he was awarded 'top candidate'.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO Paul Dalton says Christiaan's commitment and dedication to his club, region and surf lifesaving in general is outstanding. "Despite working full time, with a young family, he never hesitates to step up and lead by example. He is a great role model to the young lifeguards that he is helping to train and they will benefit greatly from his knowledge," he says.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Surf Life Saving New Zealand and this year's DHL Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Owen West from Oreti Surf Life Saving Club.

Owen was initially a member of Rarangi Surf Life Saving Club where he gained his Surf Lifeguard Award in 2001. He then moved to Invercargill for work a few years ago where he became part of Oreti and is now Club Captain. At the start of the 2014/15 season, the club only had nine lifeguards registered. Taking on numerous roles, Owen has played a big part in rebuilding the club which now has 29 lifeguards.

Last season, he volunteered 37 patrol hours on top of supporting 10 new lifeguards through their Surf Lifeguard Award and assisting members through other qualifications such as First Aid and IRB awards.

Every year there are a number of significant rescues that take place on our beaches and these rescues literally save lives. Every month from November to April, clubs across the country enter their most prominent rescues and they are judged against each other for the title of BP Rescue of the Month. Those six monthly winners then become finalists for BP Rescue of the Year.

This year, the title went to Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving Club for an off-duty rescue of six swimmers. Just after 5pm on February 21 lifeguards Dean Maddaford, Shane Dwyer, James Newland, Andrew Carr and Robin Hammond were packing up when they noticed the group caught in a rip around 300m off-shore. They quickly launched an IRB and swam out with rescue tubes to help the swimmers who were at the back of massive surf and were seriously close to drowning. Their actions avoided a certain number of deaths in some very difficult conditions.

DHL Instructor of the Year was presented to Lucy Scown from Waihi Beach. The 18 year-old instructed two four-day lifeguard camps with 34 candidates where she achieved a 100% success rate. She has coached Junior Surf athletes on Sunday mornings for three seasons and also instructs at the club's pool swim programme in Katikati multiple times a week. The program has over 50 participants; mostly members of the club but the program is open to anyone in the community.

DHL Innovation of the Year was awarded to Max Corboy from St Kilda Surf Life Saving Club for beginning the discussion of moving the Otago/Southland radio network from an analogue simplex network over to a new digital repeater network. It came at a time when a number of Search and Rescue (SAR) call-outs and pre-season trainings had limited radio coverage and, in some cases, was next to nothing in and around the cliffs and inlets south of St Clair. Throughout the season, Max successfully installed a digital repeater and the results have been very successful.

This year, a new award was added to recognise the outstanding First Aid skills that lifeguards possess and reflect the support of new partner Wood Group Training. The Wood Group Training First Aid award was presented to Tairua Surf Life Saving Club for their outstanding application of First Aid to an elderly patient who collapsed as she was getting out of the surf on December 29, 2015.

Lifeguards, who were training nearby, responded immediately and commenced CPR. They administered oxygen and used the defibrillator to deliver shocks in between CPR until she began breathing again. The stabilisation of the patient on the beach was well coordinated and led to a successful outcome for the patient who could have died if it wasn't for the quick response of the lifeguards.

Also awarded tonight was the BP Media Award for best surf lifesaving story. All organisations need media profile and none more so than not for profit organisations like Surf Life Saving. Rips are a common problem along our coastline and every year, Surf Lifeguards save hundreds of swimmers from them. TV3 Story's coverage helped highlight the dangers and educate the New Zealand public about how to spot rips and the best way to get out of one which is valuable safety information at the start of summer.

A number of sport awards were awarded alongside the lifesaving awards.

For the fourth year in a row, Papamoa's Ross Merrett was named Surf Official of the Year. Ross is a well-respected local, national and international Surf Official. His workload over the past season was immense as an official and facilitator as well as developing and refining the event safety procedures for New Zealand.

Coach of the Year was awarded to Shane Radovanovich from Paekakariki who was coach and sweep of two boat crews last season. These crews ranged from the Under 23 Men to the Open Women and his abilities meant he was able to tailor sessions to cover the wide range of experience, capabilities and skills of all crews who went on to have a successful season.

International Sports Performance of the Year was presented to Lyall Bay's Samantha Lee for her efforts representing New Zealand at last November's German Cup. Her results included a gold, and new world record, in the 100m Rescue Medley along with another gold, silver, two bronze and top female competitor at the event.

The Gudsell Trophy, awarded to the club with the highest number of Surf Lifeguard Awards gained, went to Orewa Surf Life Saving Club with 45 new lifeguards and the London Trophy, awarded to the club with the highest number of Surf Lifeguard Awards gained as a ratio of membership, went to Tolaga Bay Surf Life Saving Club with seven qualified lifeguards.

2016 Award winners:

NZLGB Lifeguard of the Year: Christiaan Maarhuis, Waihi Beach
DHL Volunteer of the Year: Owen West, Oreti
BP Rescue of the Year: Bethells Beach
Wood Group Training First Aid Award: Tairua
DHL Instructor of the Year: Lucy Scown, Waihi Beach
DHL Innovation of the Year: Max Corboy, St Kilda
Surf Official of the Year: Ross Merrett, Papamoa
Coach of the Year: Shane Radovanovich, Paekakariki
International Sports Performance: Samantha Lee, Lyall Bay
BP Media Award: TV3 Story
Gudsell Trophy: Orewa
London Trophy: Tolaga Bay

Service Awards:
Michael Bassett-Foss, Waimarama
Jess Bennett, Ocean Beach Kiwi
Shane Bennett, Ocean Beach Kiwi
David Boersen, Pauanui
Tom Burgess, Orewa
Denys Carpenter, Pacific
Andrew Cochrane, Waihi Beach
Kate Dench, Palmerston North
Patrick Flynn, Sunset Beach
Phil Harman, Waimarama
Fraser Harvey, Karekare
Neil Hubbard, Pacific
Mark Jenkinson, Ocean Beach Kiwi
Mark Johnston, Orewa
Brent Lane, Karekare
Christiaan Maarhuis, Waihi Beach
Alec Mackay, Palmerston North
John McLarin, Karekare
Harley McLaughlin, Waimarama
Debbie Moodie, Westshore
Damian Munro, Mt Maunganui
Harold Pearse, Waimarama
Russell Philp, Fitzroy
Shaun Sayer, Foxton
Matt Wade, Karekare
Kubi Witten-Hannah, Karekare

Distinguished Service Award:
Seth McPhee, Brighton

Life Membership:
Curly (Royce) Evans, Foxton

50 Year Badge:
George Imlach, Lyall Bay
Kent Jarman MNZM, Mt Maunganui
Gregory Larsen, Ocean Beach Kiwi
Phil Morgan, Whakatane
Valerie Morrison, Mairangi Bay
Robert Pitcairn, East End
Brian Quirk, Westshore
Patricia (Trish) Reid, Muriwai
Graeme Trevor, North Beach
John Williams, Opunake


2016 NZLGB Lifeguard of the Year Christiaan Maarhuis

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823