In It For Life, since “day dot”

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Like many people who are part of the Surf Life Saving movement, Adam Fraser has been involved since “day dot”.

His family were members, he took part in Junior Surf and then became a qualified Surf Lifeguard at the age of 14.

“I’ve been heavily involved ever since.”

Adam, 39, says it’s the friendships and relationships that are built that keeps him there.

“And you’re still saving lives – that’s very rewarding.”

He also says it’s satisfying to be able to work with younger Surf Lifeguards to help them develop their skills.

Adam has been heavily involved in Search and Rescue and joined the Taranaki call out squad. He set about gaining every necessary qualification as soon as possible.

He is on the Taranaki Surf Life Saving Emergency After Hours Call out Squad and is a member of Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club. He has been on the squad as a member for more than 25 years, was the co-ordinator for 7 years and is now a trainer.

Adam’s involvement in Surf Life Saving and Search and Rescue is plenty – he’s also a SAR Squad Trainer for SLSNZ, a former member of the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter organisation as a Marine swimmer, a duty officer for the local Taranaki callout squad, an environmental marine search and rescue subject matter expert and is currently training to become a NZSAR Evaluator.

He is the current chairman of the National Lifesaving Advisory Group, a former Chief Examiner for the Taranaki Region, a current IRB and Surf Lifesaving Award examiner, a member of the Taranaki Local Lifesaving Committee, an event lifeguard, a patrol auditor and a volunteer lifeguard at the Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club.

He has also been on Surf Life Saving NZ’s National Lifesaving Committee for 5 years.

The committee consists of volunteer representatives and staff members who provide valuable advice for lifesaving delivery and development as well as providing feedback and support to staff.

Judging the BP Rescue of the Month awards is among their duties. The awards recognise operational excellence by Surf Lifeguards around the country.

Adam Fraser sharing safety messaging with Taranaki Daily News in 2014. Photo: CHARLOTTE CURD/FAIRFAX NZ

Adam is no stranger to the awards – as well as being a judge in more recent times, he’s also won titles himself.

In 1999 he won the January BP Rescue of the Month for rescuing multiple people from a massive rip.

In 2005 he was part of the Taranaki Squad which was awarded BP Rescue of the Year for rescuing a kite surfer one kilometre offshore in fading light. 

Ten years later he was named runner-up for BP Rescue of the Year for his outstanding performance in the co-ordination of a multi-agency rescue of six stranded swimmers in deteriorating conditions and large surf.

In 2013 Adam was named the NZ Lottery Grants Board Lifeguard of the Year at the Surf Life Saving NZ Awards of Excellence, and in 2018 he was given the title of DHL Volunteer of the Year.

Following his 2013 win, Surf Life Saving NZ Chief Executive Paul Dalton said Adam embodies everything it takes to be an exemplary volunteer surf lifeguard.

"He has commitment, passion and an unswerving dedication to Surf Life Saving. Adam has been a great role model for the young lifeguards of Fitzroy and Taranaki and has led by example. He is passionate about surf lifesaving and it's this passion that he has passed on to the next generation of lifeguards," he said.

Adam Fraser was named the 2018 DHL Volunteer of the Year at Surf Life Saving NZ's Awards of Excellence.

On top of his huge involvement with Surf Life Saving, Adam works full time as a panel beater.

He says life is certainly busy, especially during summer, but it helps that his family and friends are lifeguards as well.


Melanie Louden
Media and Communications Manager
Surf Life Saving NZ
021 757 433