A total of 13 awards have been given to surf lifeguards from around Taranaki, who have been commended for their remarkable efforts in both lifesaving at local beaches and as sport competitors at tonight's local Awards of Excellence held at the Devon Hotel.
Clubs from right around the region took home awards including Fitzroy, New Plymouth Old Boys, East End and Opunake.
Fitzroy took home the majority of the awards, being presented with seven of the local awards including the renowned lifeguard of the year and volunteer of the year along with a plethora of sports awards.
The highly valued Volunteer of the Year award was won by Adam Fraser from Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club for his unwavering dedication to surf lifesaving. As a volunteer, Adam made a valuable contribution to all facets of surf lifesaving; from doing patrols and keeping to the public safe, to being a senior instructor at the National Lifeguarding School, to managing the Taranaki callout squad, and everything in between.
He also became the Chairman of the National Lifesaving Committee and completed multiple New Zealand Search and Rescue qualifications during the past season.
Meanwhile, Lifeguard of the Year was awarded to Todd Velvin from the same club who was awarded the prestigious award for his commitment to the Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club. He did a total of 72 hours on patrol, while instructing 30 new IRB crewman, 2 IRB drivers, and countless mentoring and help for lifeguards getting their qualifications.
Opunake took home the patrol of the year award for their high standard of patrols, which were the highest in the region. However, club of the year was awarded to East End who took home the prize for all encompassing excellence in lifeguarding, sport and education.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Taranaki Club Support Officer, Joel Meuli, said it was a great opportunity to celebrate and thank all the lifeguards and club members for their "invaluable contribution" to their communities.
"We are so proud to hear all the stories and successes of everyone from Taranaki at these awards, from our lifeguards to coaches, sports people and everyone in between. To put flags up at the beaches takes a lot of time, effort and passion from a whole bunch of people, and it's nice to acknowledge the people who help make that happen, even if they're not out on the beach patrolling.
"Everyone plays a vital role on our beaches here in Taranaki and it's great being able to pass on our thanks. Plus, we have some amazing winners who have every chance of winning a national award, which would be great for the region."
Every year, regional Awards of Excellence ceremonies are held around the country to officially recognise members for their hard work and dedication to Surf Life Saving in New Zealand before culminating at the National Awards of Excellence held this year in Auckland.
Taranaki Awards of Excellence winners:
Instructor of the Year
Casey Stevens, New Plymouth Old Boys
Lifeguard of the Year
Todd Cations-Velvin, Fitzroy
U19 Sportswoman of the Year
Hannah Baker, East End
U19 Sportsman of the Year
Zac Reid, Fitzroy
Sports Man of the Year
Javon McCallum, Fitzroy
U19 Sports Team of the Year
East End Ski Relay team, East End
Sports Team of Year
NPOB IRB team, New Plymouth Old Boys
Overall Sportsperson of the Year
Zac Reid, Fitzroy
Coach of the Year
Byron Reid, Fitzroy
Surf Official of the Year
Brian Velvin, Fitzroy
Volunteer of the Year
Adam Fraser, Fitzroy
Michael Taylor Award (awarded to the person who best embodies the "spirit of surf lifesaving")
Liam Cole, East End
Club Patrol of the Year
Club of the Year
East End SLSC
Byron Reid, Fitzroy
Allison Cole, Fitzroy
Alana McIsaac, Media & Communications Manager
Phone 027 515 7157