SLSNZ launches Home for Christmas campaign

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

School children have gathered together to help Surf Life Saving New Zealand share a powerful message.

During the 2018/2019 season, volunteer Surf Lifeguards saved the lives of 702 people.

That’s 702 people who made it home to their families after a day at the beach. And 702 people who will be “Home for Christmas”.

To illustrate just how significant this number is Surf Life Saving New Zealand called on students from Whangaparaoa School in Auckland to help – they gathered at nearby Manly Beach and stood in the shape of the numerals 702.

Sixteen adults also stood in a circle to illustrate the number of people who tragically drowned on New Zealand beaches when they were swimming outside of patrol hours, or away from lifeguarded beaches.

National Lifesaving Manager Allan Mundy says the Home for Christmas campaign highlights the impact volunteer Surf Lifeguards have on their community.

“Last year 702 people were able to make it home for Christmas because of the direct result of our lifeguards carrying out lifesaving rescues,” Mr Mundy says. “We know that if those people hadn’t been rescued they most likely would have drowned – that’s a huge number.”

Volunteer Surf Lifeguard of the Year James Lloyd says people need to swim between the flags.

“The lifeguards have found the safest part of the beach for you and they are there to look after you as well.”

Mr Lloyd is warning people about becoming complacent around the potential dangers at the beach.

“There’s that she’ll be right attitude. Often we see it coming through in young males especially. It’s about really being aware of your abilities, knowing your limits and if in doubt stay out.”

Check out the Home for Christmas launch on TV3’s NewsHub.


Surf Life Saving New Zealand Beach Safety Messages 

  1. Choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags.
  2. Look for, read and understand the safety signs - ask a lifeguard for advice as conditions can change regularly.
  3. Don't overestimate your ability or your children's ability to cope in the conditions.
  4. Always keep a very close eye on young children in or near the water - keep them within arm’s reach at all times.
  5. Get a friend to swim with you - never swim or surf alone.
  6. Watch out for rip currents, they can carry you away from shore. If caught in a rip, remember the 3 R’s: 1. RELAX & FLOAT to conserve your energy, 2. RAISE YOUR HAND to signal for help, 3. RIDE the rip until it stops & you can swim back to shore safely.
  7. When fishing from rocks, never turn your back towards the sea and always wear a lifejacket.
  8. If in doubt, stay out!
  9. If you see someone in trouble in the water, call 111 and ask for Police as they have a direct line to us.
  10. Be sun smart – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap. Protect your skin and eyes from the sun's damaging rays.

For more information, please contact:

Melanie Louden

Media and Communications Manager

Surf Life Saving NZ

021 757 433