Taranaki Awards of Excellence winners announced

Monday, 14 June 2021

11 June. 2021

Press Release

Taranaki Awards of Excellence winners announced

Dedicated volunteer Surf Lifeguards, coaches, instructors, and athletes have been celebrated at the Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Taranaki Awards of Excellence.

The awards honour the volunteers who have devoted numerous hours to keeping our beaches and people safe and lifesaving sport athletes who have shone in competition. Volunteers from Surf Life Saving Clubs at Wanganui, New Plymouth Old Boys, Fitzroy, Opunake and East End make up the Taranaki region.

Joel Meuli, Surf Life Saving New Zealand Central Region Club Support Officer says he has been impressed with the resilience and commitment shown by the region’s Surf Life Saving volunteers.

"COVID–19 threw the whole world a curveball. I’m humbled by the commitment our life guards have shown despite the exceptional challenges this year has presented. They’re an amazing bunch of people who I’m immensely proud to work with. The annual Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence provide the opportunity to recognise and congratulate the hard work and dedication of the Surf Lifesaving clubs, life guards, sports teams and athletes."

The honour of Lifeguard of the Year goes to Alex Fraser, a key member of the Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club who took on an even bigger lifeguarding role this year. In addition to the 68 hours of volunteer guarding that Alex put in as Patrol Captain she was also involved in training new lifeguards and helping organise the club’s junior surf members, which number over 150. Alex was involved in numerous rescues this year, following on from her busy season last year when she was awarded with the Rescue of the Year.


Lifeguard of the Year Alex Fraser


The Volunteer of the Year winner is Michael Debique from Opunake Surf Life Saving. Michael plays a major part in making things work at the club, being the Lifeguard Manager, Patrol Auditor, Head Instructor, Junior Surf Coach, First Aid Auditor, Maintenance-man, Event Lifeguard, as well as sitting on the lifeguard committee and being a member of the emergency rescue squad. In addition to his multiple roles Michael dedicates his free time during the summer to lifesaving. Adding to his already massive contribution as a club volunteer, he completed over 60 hours of volunteer patrolling.


Volunteer of the Year Michael Debique


Part of this year’s major awards also covers all aspects of Surf Lifesaving Sport to celebrate the officials, coaches and high performance athletes.

Sportsperson of the Year goes to Joe Collins. Joe had an exceptional 2020/21 season. Since moving to the Gold Coast last year from New Plymouth he has become one of the hottest names in Surf Sports. Joe finished 3rd overall in the Kellogg’s Nutri Grain professional Ironman series, an unbelievable finish for a New Zealand athlete, let alone an U19 athlete. Joe backed up this amazing finish in the series by being the first ever New Zealander to win an Australian National ironman title, winning the U19 male Ironman race.


Sportsperson of the Year Joe Collins


Joe enjoyed even more success in Australia, winning the U19 Ski Relay and Board Rescue, as well as picking up a 2nd in the double ski and a 3rd in the U19 Surf Teams. Unfortunately due to COVID complications and the cancellation of the 2021 TSB Surf Life Saving Nationals Joe was unable to make it back to New Zealand this season, although he is looking forward to returning later this year.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Awards of Excellence are held every year in each SLSNZ region to recognise and celebrate the many club members putting in considerable time, effort and skills at a grass-roots level to make sure Kiwis who head to the beach get home safe.

The regional awards for each area are held May through July and precede the National Awards of Excellence which will be held in September. The Taranaki awards were announced at an event that took place on Friday 11 June.


Taranaki Awards of Excellence Major Winners


Award Category



Instructor of the Year

Anna Beavis


Lifeguard of the Year

Alex Fraser


U19 Sportswoman of the Year

Julia Padrutt

East End

U19 Sportsman of the Year

Josh Goble

East End

Open Sportswoman of the Year

Claudia Kelly

East End

Open Sportsman of the Year

Joe Collins


Sportsperson of the Year

Joe Collins


U19 Sports Team of the Year

East End IRB Team 'Moto Moto’

East End

Open Sports Team of the Year

East End IRB Team ‘Pumba’

East End

Coach of the Year

Scott Nelson

East End

Surf Official of the Year

Ashleigh Hurring


Volunteer of the Year

Michael Debique


Michael Taylor Award

Trent Olliver



For more information please contact:

Joel Meuli
Taranaki Club Development Officer
Phone: 027 511 1026

Rajal Middleton
Head of Commercial & Marketing
Phone 027 457 1001